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Monday, 13 August 2012

Wild animal news

Animal Attacks news 
November 22, 2012. FRANK BAJAK.  Associated Press.  Scientists: Galapagos tortoise can be revived
Endangered Animals of Galapagos Islands Lonesome George,  the last giant tortoise
LIMA, Peru (AP) — Lonesome George, the late reptile prince of the Galapagos Islands, may be dead, but scientists now say he may not be the last giant tortoise of his species after all.
Researchers say they may be able to resurrect the Pinta Island subspecies by launching a cross-breeding program with 17 other tortoises found to contain genetic material similar to that of Lonesome George, who died June 24 at the Pacific Ocean archipelago off Ecuador's coast after repeated failed efforts to reproduce.
Edwin Naula, director of the Galapagos National Park, said in a telephone interview on Thursday that the probability is high it can be accomplished.

"It would be the first time that a species was recovered after having been declared extinct," Naula said.
But it won't happen overnight.
"This is going to take about 100 to 150 years," Naula added.
Scientists took DNA samples from 1,600 tortoises on Wolf volcano, and found the Pinta variety in 17, though their overall genetic makeup varied.

Through cross-breeding, "100 percent pure species" can be achieved, said Naula, a biologist.
He said the 17 tortoises were being transferred from Isabela island, where the volcano is located, to the park's breeding center at Santa Cruz, the main island on the archipelago whose unique flora and fauna helped inspire Charles Darwin's work on evolution. The results are to be published in the journal Biological Conservation, the park said.
The study on Wolf volcano was conducted by Yale University and the Galapagos park with financial help from the Galapagos Conservancy.

In a news release, the park said scientists speculate that giant tortoises from Pinta island might have arrived at Wolf volcano after being taken off by whaling ships for food and later cast overboard.
At least 14 species of giant tortoise originally inhabited the islands' 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) off Ecuador's coast and 10 survive.
A visit to Lonesome George became de rigueur for celebrities and common folk alike among the 180,000 people who annually visit the Galapagos.

Before humans arrived, the islands were home to tens of thousands of giant tortoises. The number fell to about 3,000 in 1974, but the recovery program run by the national park and the Charles Darwin Foundation has succeeded in increasing the overall population to 20,000.
Lonesome George's age at death was not known, but scientists believed he was about 100, not especially old for a giant tortoise.

Novemmber 20, 2012.Tamara Lush, The Associated Press . Dolphins shot, mutilated, stabbed; attacks along Gulf Coast a mystery for experts
Over the past several months, dolphins have washed ashore along the northern Gulf Coast with bullet wounds, missing jaws and hacked off fins, and federal officials said they are looking into the mysterious deaths.
The most recent case was of a dolphin found dead off the coast of Mississippi, its lower jaw missing.

Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday they're asking everyone from beachgoers to fishermen to wildlife agents to be on the lookout for injured or dead dolphins — and any unusual interaction between the mammals and people.

"It's very sad to think that anyone could do that to any animal," said Erin Fougeres, a marine mammal scientist for NOAA's southeast office in St. Petersburg, Florida. "There have been some obviously intentional cases."
Fougeres said five dolphins have been found shot. In Louisiana, two were shot in 2011 and one in 2012. And in Mississippi, three were found shot this year, the most recent one last week, which was first reported by the Sun-Herald newspaper.

Besides the shootings, a dolphin in Alabama was found with a screwdriver stuck in its head over the summer. Another in Alabama had its tail cut off, and that animal survived. Still others were missing fins or had cuts to their bodies.
"I think it is outrageous," said Moby Solangi, the executive director of Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Mississippi. "These animals are very docile, very friendly and they're very curious. They come close to the boats, so if you're out there, you'll see them riding the bows. And their curiosity and friendship brings them so close that they become targets and that's the unfortunate thing."

Dolphins are among the species protected by the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act. Violators can be fined up to $10,000 per violation and sent to prison for a year.
The California-based Animal Legal Defence Fund said it is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whomever harmed the dolphins.

The gruesome discoveries are heartbreaking for Gulf Coast scientists, who follow the population. Fougeres said that two months before the 2010 oil spill disaster off the coast of Louisiana, dolphins began stranding themselves and that there were unusually high mortality rates — possibly due to a cold winter that year.

Since then, the spill and another cold winter in 2011 have contributed to several deaths within the Gulf's dolphin population, experts say. Investigators have also found discolored teeth and lung infections within some of the dead dolphins.
Since Feb. 2010, experts have tallied more than 700 recorded dolphin deaths.
Experts have also found increased "human interaction" cases, which include dolphins tangled in fishing lines — and the more violent incidents.
Fougeres cautions that some of the dolphin mutilations might have happened after the animal died from natural causes and washed ashore. She said that in the case of the dolphin with the lower jaw missing, someone could have cut off the jaw for a souvenir after the animal died.
"We have to do a necropsy on the animal and collect tissue samples to try to determine whether or not the injury was pre-or post-mortem" she said.
She also said that the increase in cases might be due to NOAA's dolphin stranding network becoming better trained to notice cruelty cases or unusual deaths.

Some have suggested that the deaths are the work of a few angry fishermen who are upset about bait-stealing dolphins. Yet the majority of fishermen say that while dolphins can be annoying, they wouldn't harm the creatures.
"I don't know who to suspect ... I was really sickened when I read about it," said Tom Becker, of T&D Charters out of Biloxi, Mississippi., and head of the Mississippi Charter Boat Captains Association, said he's never had a problem with dolphins.

The mammals tend to swim behind his boat until a fish too small to keep is tossed over the side.
"You'll see him under your boat," Becker said, about the dolphin. "He'll get it before it can reach the bottom. I usually leave the area if they're doing that."
Fougeres said she doesn't think the dolphins are being targeted by a gang of people or even by a lone, sick individual.
"The cases are fairly spread apart," she said. "I don't think there is one dolphin murderer out there."

November 18,2012. Keith Ridler. A P.  Monkey dies from blow to head after zoo break-in

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A break-in at Zoo Boise early Saturday left a Patas monkey dead from blunt force trauma to the head and neck and police were analyzing blood found at the scene to determine if it came from the monkey or one of two human intruders.
Two males wearing dark clothing were spotted by a security guard at 4:30 a.m. outside the fence near the primate exhibit, police said. Both fled, one of them heading into the interior of the zoo. Boise police used a thermal imager in searching the 11-acre zoo grounds but didn't find the person.

Police said late Saturday that a grey baseball cap with a distinctive skull design found near the site was probably left behind by one of the intruders and it might help in tracking them down.
"I've been here for 15 years and we haven't had anything like this happen," Zoo Boise Director Steve Burns said. "It's unfortunate that we have to let kids know that something like this happens. Monkeys are always among the most favorite animals here."
Patas monkeys, often called the military monkey, have reddish-brown fur with grey chin whiskers and distinctive white moustaches. They are widely distributed across central Africa south of the Sahara Desert and can live more than 20 years in captivity.

During a search of the zoo before dawn, Burns heard a groan that at first he thought sounded human. It turned out to be an injured Patas monkey barely moving near the perimeter fence.
The zoo's veterinarian was called, but the monkey died just before 6 a.m. as it was being examined. A necropsy later determined that blunt force trauma was the cause of death, police said.
An inventory done by zoo staff found no other animals missing or injured. The zoo has one remaining Patas monkey — another male — but it's unclear if it will remain at the zoo or will be sent to another zoo where it can socialize with other Patas monkeys, Burns said.

"They're not endangered in the wild, but there are not many in zoos in the United States," he said. "Monkeys are social animals. We only have one."
The two Patas monkeys came to Zoo Boise about three years ago from Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo in Florida. They had an outdoor enclosure during the summer in Boise but were moved indoors to the primate building when colder weather arrived.
Burns said the monkeys hadn't been given names, and he didn't know their ages. The monkey that was killed was about 2 ½ feet tall and weighed about 30 pounds, Burns said.
Burns declined to discuss details of the police investigation, including how the intruder entered the primate building, if the monkeys might have been specifically targeted, or how the monkey ended up near the perimeter fence. The zoo doesn't have surveillance cameras, he said.

"It's very disturbing that someone would intentionally break into the zoo and harm an animal," said Sgt. Ted Snyder of the Boise Police Department in a statement. "We're doing all we can to find who did this."
Amy Stahl of Boise Parks & Recreation said the death shocked zoo workers.

"They're hit hard," Stahl said. "They care for the animals on a daily basis and they care about them deeply."
The zoo was supposed to open at 10 a.m. but remained closed while police gathered evidence, opening about 2:30 p.m.

Novomber 17, 2012. Benjamin Radford. Discovery News 'MYSTERIOUS ANIMAL' ATTACKS BORNEO VILLAGERS
Face of a Badger Photo by (Corbis)

According to a news story in The Borneo Post, an unknown animal recently attacked two men working on a farm.

An Indonesian plantation worker and a 75-year-old farmer got the shock of their lives when they were attacked by an unknown animal species in two separate occasions earlier this month. The farmer, Aris Kuna of Kampung Paon Gahat, was attacked by the rare animal while attending to his pepper garden about noon. The foreigner was attacked a week later at a plantation near Kpg Baing while gathering oil palm fresh fruit bunches... The animal that attacked the duo was described as having a "bear and wild boar" resemblance. Fellow workers and villagers who saw the carcass, brought by the Indonesian, could not identify the animal species. “In all my life venturing into the jungle, hunting and such, I’ve never come across this species,” 62-year-old Louis Nyaoi said.

The farmer said that the animal made a strange sound and rushed toward him, at one point standing on its hind legs. The reign of terror—or at least consternation—ended when the farmer, holding a sickle, promptly sliced the creature up. The animal was described as about two feet long, with a long, pig-like snout and long, sharp claws. It also gave off a horrible odor that got much worse after death.

A rare or unknown animal, as the news reports suggest?

Skeptics aren’t so sure. Sharon Hill, a writer at Doubtful, points out that the photo and description “screamed badger” to her—specifically one type of small mammal native to the region, a Indonesian stink badger (Mydaus javanensis), which is related to skunks (hence the “stink” in the name and on the carcass). It matches the animal that attacked the men in nearly every detail.

Stink badger Photo by (Zoo Club)
Left unexplained is why the farmer and others could not identify the badger, though just because an animal is native to an area doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone who lives there will recognize it. Many animals are nocturnal and avoid contact with people, or spend their lives in water or woods. Ornithologists can spend months or even years trying to spot birds well within their natural habitat ranges.

This phenomenon sometimes occurs in the United States, where a common animal has been mistaken for a mysterious or unknown species. Raccoons and opossums, for example, are common throughout North America, yet have been mistaken for monsters on several occasions—usually when stricken hairless with mange or when their decomposing carcasses have washed up on a beach.

Earlier this year a large Atlantic sturgeon washed up on a South Carolina beach, sparking speculation about a beached sea monster, and in 2011 a mangy fox was (briefly) mistaken for the mythical Hispanic vampire beast el chupacabra.

November 17 2012.RENSON MNYAMWEZI KWS: Government to pay snakebite victims in Taita

Victims of snakebite in Taita can now seek compensation after the Government lifted the suspension imposed early this year.

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officials said Friday  that compensation had been suspended after it emerged that the Government was losing huge sums of money to false victims.

Taita Wildlife Community Deputy warden Esther Njeri Muchai said the provision for compensation had been abused by people who lodged false claims.

“Most claims have been suspicious. All the claim forms were always filled by a specific doctor. Whenever we received the forms from the hospital, it was always the same doctor who happened to be on duty every time a snakebite occurred,” she said.

She said in some cases, people cut themselves with razors and claimed to have been bitten by snakes.

Yesterday, Ms Muchai told the County Wildlife Compensation Committee chaired by Wundanyi District Officer David Boen that the Government has rescinded its earlier decision and reinstated compensation on snakebites.

According to the warden, the payment was suspended in February, this year.

During the meeting held in Wundanyi town, the compensation committee approved 17 compensation application claims for victims.

The claims, backdated to July, were as a result of wildlife attacks in the region.

According to KWS and Provincial Administration officials, majority of the cases were of victims of snakebites, and attacks by jackals and wild cats. There were other cases of elephant and buffalo attacks.

Muchai at the same time admitted snakes have become a major threat and called on the local community to clear bushes around their homesteads to avert the menace.

“We’re advising residents to manage their compounds and properly secure their doors as a measure to stop snakes from invading their houses at night,” she added.

Muchai, however, said wildlife conflict has drastically reduced following heavy rains that have been pounding the region in the recent past.

“We have enough water in the park and marauding elephants and buffalos that have been invading  people’s settlements are back to the park,” she added.

According to reports on animal conflict in the Tsavo Conservation Area in 2009, elephant attacks led with 1,300 cases followed by buffalos and baboons with 250 in total. Both snake and hippos cases were 150. In 2010, elephants attacks were 900, baboons 180, while lions and snake had a total of 160 cases.

November 16, 2012. Associated Press in Hong Kong.  Hong Kong seizes $1.4m of illegal ivory
Customs officers in Hong Kong confiscate 569 pieces of illegal elephant ivory, their second major seizure of tusks in a month

Hong Kong customs officers have made their second major seizure of ivory in less than a month after confiscating more than a tonne of the elephant tusks worth $1.4m (£880,000).

Officers discovered 569 pieces of ivory on Thursday, weighing 1,330kg (2,930 lbs), in a container shipped to a Hong Kong port.

A search of a container from Tanzania yielded 45 bags of unprocessed tusks concealed in more than 400 bags of sunflower seeds, said Vincent Wong, a customs divisional commander.

The smugglers used an indirect route, shipping the ivory through Dubai and transferring it from one ship to another.

Hong Kong customs officers guard 45 bags of unprocessed ivory, which had
been concealed in more than 400 bags of sunflower seeds. Photo: Bobby Yip
While the container's destination was listed as Hong Kong, officials believe the shipment was intended for another location but did not say where.

The discovery comes weeks after customs officers in Hong Kong made a record seizure of endangered species products, confiscating nearly 4 tonnes of African ivory worth $3.4m, which had been found in two containers.

Smugglers used plastic and beans to conceal the ivory. Wong said the smuggling incidents did not appear to be related.

Wildlife activists blame China's growing presence in Africa for an unprecedented surge in elephant poaching, with most of the tusks believed to be smuggled to China and Thailand to make ornaments.

Authorities are investigating the latest ivory haul. No arrests have been made.

November 16, 2012. ABC.  Lion's death ends long-time zoo legacy

Celesto, a female African lion was 22 years old.
Pic by Houston Zoo
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The Houston Zoo has lost a long-time resident -- Celesto, a female African lion, was 22 years old

Celesto was the last of a lion legacy that began in June of 1989 with the arrival at the Zoo of Bruno and Kili, Celesto's mother and father, and Lindi. The three lions had been seized by sheriff's deputies and federal authorities executing a search warrant for illegal drugs on a Kansas farm on October 31, 1988.

Bruno, Kili, and Lindi arrived at the Houston Zoo in June 1989 on loan from the Franklin County, Kansas sheriff's department by way of Topeka Zoological Park. Celesto was born at the Houston Zoo on June 1, 1990.

Every keeper who worked with Celesto over the years agreed she was feisty, stubborn, strong willed, tenacious with a fascinating personality. The dynamics of the social structure of the zoo's lion pride was important to her and she made it clear to everyone who cared for her that her presence was going to be respected if they were going to work with her in that group of lions.
African Big Savannah Cats

Over the past two years, the zoo's carnivore keepers and zoo veterinarians monitoring Celesto's health had recorded a marked decline in her kidney function, a condition that is not uncommon in African lions of Celesto's advanced age. Lions in zoos generally live into their late teens but have a much shorter life expectancy in the wild.

Despite a continuing veterinary regimen and the compassionate care and attention of her keepers Celesto's quality of life continued to decline and the grande dame of the Houston Zoo's lion pride was humanely euthanized late Friday morning.

Jeffrey Kofman. ABC New. Slow Loris: Endangered for Being Cute
The slow loris, a tiny creature from the jungle with oh-so-probing eyes, looks like a furry cartoon character. Few had ever heard of this animal until it became a Youtube sensation, attracting millions of views, but that is what's threatening the animal's existence.

Watch the full story on "Nightline" tonight at 11:35 p.m. ET
Dr. Anna Nekaris, a primatologist at Oxford Brookes University and one of the world's only slow loris experts, met "Nightline" at one of the few zoos that keeps lorises, the Paignton Zoo in Southwest England. She said this nocturnal primate, found in indo-China, Vietnam and Cambodia, is endangered - up to 90 percent have been wiped out.

For all 10 species of lorises, illegal trade "is their number one threat," she said.

The BBC and Animal Planet followed the elusive and obscure slow loris into the jungle with Nekaris as she studied them on the Indonesian island of Java. She is hoping to find out what can be done to save the slow loris from extinction, and why the loris is the only mammal with a venomous bite - something she found out the hard way six years ago.

"It's not a pleasant experience because, like a snake bite, it can decay and fester and the wound takes quite a long time to heal," she said. "It can throb for days and days. They can bite straight through your fingernail and into the bone."

In Southeast Asia, villagers say a loris bite can be lethal. Nekaris explained that when the animal goes into a "defensive posture," it will raise its arms above its head and squeeze them tightly. This pulls oil from its armpits into its mouth, she said, mixing it with saliva, to deliver its venomous bite. Its growl even mimics a cobra.
But while she was studying its venom, Nekaris also discovered the loris is rapidly disappearing from the jungle, and those heart-melting Youtube videos are part of the problem.

The adorable lorises have become coveted pets, especially in Japan, Russia and the Persian Gulf. On the illegal animal Asia market, Nekaris said their venomous teeth are removed with nail clippers and are sold for $25. When smuggled out of the country, they can be worth thousands.
"People don't understand that these are illegal pets," she said. "They think they can have one. They see it as being cute."

November 14, 2012. GONZALO SOLANO. Associated Press. Rat kill in Galapagos Islands targets 180 million
QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — The unique bird and reptile species that make the Galapagos Islands a treasure for scientists and tourists must be preserved, Ecuadorean authorities say — and that means the rats must die, hundreds of millions of them.

A helicopter is to begin dropping nearly 22 tons of specially designed poison bait on an island Thursday, launching the second phase of a campaign to clear out by 2020 non-native rodents from the archipelago that helped inspire Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

The invasive Norway and black rats, introduced by whalers and buccaneers beginning in the 17th century, feed on the eggs and hatchlings of the islands' native species, which include giant tortoises, lava lizards, snakes, hawks and iguanas. Rats also have depleted plants on which native species feed.
The rats have critically endangered bird species on the 19-island cluster 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) from Ecuador's coast.

"It's one of the worst problems the Galapagos have. (Rats) reproduce every three months and eat everything," said Juan Carlos Gonzalez, a specialist with the Nature Conservancy involved in the Phase II eradication operation on Pinzon island and the islet of Plaza Sur.

Phase I of the anti-rat campaign began in January 2011 on Rabida island and about a dozen islets, which like Pinzon and Plaza Sur are also uninhabited by humans.

The goal is to kill off all nonnative rodents, beginning with the Galapagos' smaller islands, without endangering other wildlife. The islands where humans reside, Isabela and Santa Cruz, will come last.
Previous efforts to eradicate invasive species have removed goats, cats, burros and pigs from various islands.
Pinzon is about seven square miles (1,812 hectares) in area, while Plaza Sur encompasses just 24 acres (9.6 hectares).
"This is a very expensive but totally necessary war," said Gonzalez.
The rat infestation has now reached one per square foot (about 10 per square meter) on Pinzon, where an estimated 180 million rodents reside.
The director of conservation for the Galapagos National Park Service, Danny Rueda, called the raticide the largest ever in South America.

The poisoned bait, developed by Bell Laboratories in the United States, is contained in light blue cubes that attract rats but are repulsive to other inhabitants of the islands. The one-centimeter-square cubes disintegrate in a week or so.

Park official Cristian Sevilla said the poison will be dropped on Pinzon and Plaza Sur through the end of November.
A total of 34 hawks from Pinzon were trapped in order to protect them from eating rodents that consume the poison, Sevilla said. They are to be released in early January.
On Plaza Sur, 40 iguanas were also captured temporarily for their own protection.
Asked whether a large number of decomposing rats would create an environmental problem, Rueda said the poison was specially engineered with a strong anti-coagulant that will make the rats dry up and disintegrate in less than eight days without a stench.

It will help that the average temperature of the islands is 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius), he added.
The current $1.8 million phase of the project is financed by the national park and nonprofit conservation groups including Island Conservation.

The Galapagos were declared protected as a UNESCO Natural Heritage site in 1978. In 2007, UNESCO declared them at risk due to harm from invasive species, tourism and immigration.

November 13, 2012. Russian woman attacked by wolf, axes it to death

MAKHACHKALA, Russia (AP) — Beware of 56-year-old Russian women with axes.
A lone wolf attacked Aishat Maksudova outside her sister's home in Russia's province of Dagestan in the North Caucasus Mountains.

The animal bit the farmer on her arm and her leg and she fell to the ground, crying out for help from other villagers. No one was in earshot. So she reached for an ax she had brought along to repair a fence, and with remarkable aplomb, she hit the wolf over the head several times until his teeth unclenched.
The wolf later died.

Maksudova has become a hero in the Caspian Sea province that lies east of Chechnya. She was still being treated for her wounds Tuesday at a local hospital after last week's incident. Doctors said she is recuperating well.

Nov.13, 2012. Elephant calf raised by woman in Malawi dies
seven-and-a-half month old orphaned elephant calf
named Moses takes one of his two-hourly
formula bottle feeds, at his home in
Lilongwe, MalawiAP Photo/Denis Farrell

LILONGWE, Malawi (AP) — An elephant calf that was separated from his herd and raised by a human "mother" for months in Malawi has died.
Jenny Webb, who raised the calf, said it died Monday night "in her arms." She said the elephant had been sick with colic and diarrhea.

In February, Webb adopted the elephant, which had been named Moses after being found in the grasses of a riverbed by game rangers at Vwazi Wildlife Reserve in northern Malawi. She said rangers tried to find his family herd for two days without success and that his mother was likely killed by poachers.

Malawi's national parks did not have the funds to raise the little elephant, so Webb, the founder of the Jumbo Foundation, an orphanage for large animals, cared for him.


 Between 80 and 100 percent of livable habitat will disappear from a major panda enclave in China by the end of the 21st century.

Climate change is likely to decimate bamboo populations in an isolated region of China that serves as home for nearly 20 percent of the world’s wild giant pandas.

As a result, according to new projections, between 80 and 100 percent of livable panda habitat will disappear from the region in China’s Qinling Mountains by the end of the 21st century.

The new findings illustrate how environmental impacts can reverberate through the food web.

“Ninety-nine percent of food that pandas eat in the wild is bamboo,” said Jack Liu, an ecologist at Michigan State University in East Lansing. “If there’s no bamboo, then pandas can’t survive.”

“I think probably there is hope, but only if we take active measures at once,” he added. “If we don’t, then probably not. It really depends on what we will do.”

With fewer than 1,600 individuals left living in the wild, giant pandas are one of the most endangered species in the world. But most panda-conservation research has focused on human impacts, said Liu, who has been studying pandas and their habitats for 17 years.

To find out what kind of influence climate change might have on the adorable fur-balls, he and colleagues zeroed in on the Qinling Mountains, which provides about a quarter of available habitat for wild pandas.

Using a wide range of climate models, the researchers projected likely changes in three main species of bamboo, which make up more than 90 percent of bamboo in the region. Bamboo plants are highly sensitive to temperature changes.

Under every scenario, the researchers report today in the journal Nature Climate Change, dramatic declines in bamboo would likely spell big trouble for pandas. Estimates for how much suitable habitat would disappear ranged from 80 to 100 percent, depending on the climate scenario used.

Despite the relatively large amount of panda habitat currently available in the Qinling Mountains, the region is isolated from other suitable habitats. That means that if their food source were to disappear, pandas that live there would have nowhere else to go. The region’s remoteness also makes it unlikely that new species of bamboo would be able to get their seeds there.

The results suggest that conservationists must consider climate change as well as human impacts when planning how best to protect pandas, Liu said. One possible solution would be to cultivate and plant heat-tolerant bamboo in the region.

But even if researchers find bamboo that will continue to grow with warming, said Stanford ecologist Terry Root, they’d also need to ensure that pandas could get sufficient nutrients from those plants. And that’s not necessarily a sure thing.

Because pandas are so charismatic and popular, Root added, they provide a poignant example of scenarios happening to all sorts of species all over the world.

“Most biologists think we’re standing on the edge of a mass extinction event,” she said. “If pandas can bring attention to that, it’s absolutely fantastic. This is a horrible thing to say, but I think this is a wonderful study because what it’s doing is showing us how we need to actually understand what we’re doing to the climate, because we’re not just doing it to the climate.”

Again and again, ecologists are documenting how changes to one species create domino effects that resonate through the rest of the ecosystem in unexpected ways.

“It’s going on all over the place, we just haven’t noticed it,” Root said. “Actually noticing it in an iconic species like the panda is super unfortunate, but maybe it will get people to understand what’s going

November 10 2012. Rhino poacher jailed in South Africa

A Thai man has been jailed for 40 years by a court in South Africa for organising illegal rhino poaching expeditions.

Chumlong Lemtongthai had been described by officials as a "leading figure" in international rhino poaching.

The sentence is the longest-ever given for poaching in South Africa and has been welcomed by officials.

Wildlife protection campaigners say the demand for rhino horn is driven by its use in traditional medicine in Asia.

In Vietnam and China many believe that ground rhino horn has medicinal properties - although there is no scientific evidence for this - and horns taken to the Middle East are used to make handles for ornamental daggers.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced that the US will do more to tackle the illegal trade in wildlife products, reports the AP news agency.

She told environmental campaigners in Washington that she and President Barack Obama would raise the issue with Asian leaders at a summit next week.

South African magistrate Prince Manyathi ruled that Chumlong Lemtongthai had shown no remorse for his crimes.

Mr Manyathi was also quoted as saying he did not want his children to live in a world where they could only see rhinos in photographs.

Minister of Justice Jeff Radebe said the court's decision was "an appropriate sentence".

It is longer than that given to many murderers in South Africa and is clearly meant as a deterrent, the BBC's Pumza Fihlani in Johannesburg says.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-SA) welcomed the sentence.

"These higher-level arrests and convictions are critical to disrupting the illegal trade chains used to move rhino horns into illicit markets in Asia," said WWF-SA rhino co-ordinator Jo Shaw in a statement.

Smuggling 'kingpin'

A total of 222 people have been arrested for rhino poaching and related activities since the beginning of 2012 in South Africa, with many of their cases currently before the courts.

A record number of rhinos have been killed this year in South Africa, home to most of the world's wild rhino population.

humlong Lemtongthai is believed to be the kingpin of an international rhino horn smuggling ring and is the most prominent smuggler to be convicted since South Africa intensified anti-poaching measures in recent years.

He pleaded guilty to paying people to pose as big game hunters with permits. They were given about $800 (£500) each to go to game farms, take a few shots with small calibre rifles and then pose next to rhinos killed by someone else.

"The hunters were a front for our decision to export rhino horn for trade and not for trophies," he said in a statement to the Johannesburg court.

"I humbly apologise to the court and to the people of South Africa for my role in this matter," he added.

South African authorities currently issue permits to what it terms "bona fide" hunters for trophy hunting. The Department for Environmental Affairs says "a hunting client may only hunt one white rhinoceros within a specific calendar year".

November 8, 2012. BBC. Dog attacks reach 'frightening' levels says animal charity
Nearly one in three UK dog owners has reported being bitten or attacked by a dog, according to an animal charity.

The PDSA estimates that 1.3 million dogs in Britain are exhibiting what it describes as "problem behaviour".

It warns that owners who fail to give their dogs adequate obedience training are making the problem worse.

In a survey more than half of owners said they knew someone who had been bitten or attacked by a dog.

A separate study of children found that nearly two thirds reported having been frightened or scared by a dog's behaviour.

The PDSA says problem behaviour in dogs has reached "frightening" levels, and is calling for children to be taught at school how to be responsible owners.

Growling and snarling
The report acknowledges that in some cases dogs have been deliberately trained to be aggressive.

But it says the primary cause of anti-social behaviour is a lack of socialisation and basic obedience training when the dogs are young.

Examples of problem behaviour included growling, snarling and aggression towards people and other animals.

The survey was carried out by YouGov researchers - who contacted nearly 4,000 pet owners on behalf of the PDSA.

They also contacted hundreds of veterinary surgeons and staff in vets' surgeries.

They found that 24% of the owners who said their dogs exhibited problem behaviour were in Northern Ireland, while 20% were in eastern England.

The area with the least reported problem behaviour was Wales, at 8%.

The research also suggested that a majority of dogs, 61%, had not attended training sessions within their first six months of life.

Fatal consequences
PDSA senior veterinary surgeon Sean Wensley said: "Each year there are awful stories of dogs attacking pets and people, sometimes with fatal consequences.

"Tackling this begins with owners and breeders taking full responsibility for their dogs' behaviour, and adequately socialising and training them from a young age.

"It is also essential that young people understand how to be safe around all pets and learn how to become caring and responsible owners in the future."

The research forms part of the second PDSA animal wellbeing report - which also highlights obesity and lack of health care as major problems for many pets.

The PDSA estimates that 18.5 million dogs, cats and rabbits are being fed unsuitable diets even though their owners know about the health risks.

And the charity warned that an estimated 11.2 million pets are not vaccinated or neutered leaving them at "serious" risk of developing potentially fatal illnesses.

November 9, 2012.Jason Straziuso, The Associated Press. US to increase anti-poaching efforts as elephants, rhinos die in jaw-dropping numbers
Animal attacks news an elephant grazes in the Maasai
 Mara National park, Kenya.Photo/Ben Curtis,
NAIROBI, Kenya - Alarmed that rebel militias could be profiting from a sharp increase in the poaching of elephants and rhinos, the U.S. plans to step up efforts to build a global coalition to combat the illegal wildlife trade, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says.

Speaking before animal activists and several international ambassadors, Clinton told a crowd in Washington on Thursday that poachers are using helicopters, night vision goggles and automatic weapons to hunt down wildlife. She wants world leaders to increase their focus on combating the problem and said that she and President Barack Obama will speak to Asian leaders about it next week at the East Asia Summit.

"Some of you might be wondering why a Secretary of State is keynoting an event about wildlife trafficking and conservation," Clinton said on Thursday, before answering her own question: "Over the past few years wildlife trafficking has become more organized, more lucrative, more widespread and more dangerous than ever before."

Elephants across Africa are being slaughtered by the thousands for their ivory tusks, which are shipped to Asia, particularly China, and made into ivory trinkets. In Tanzania alone, 10,000 elephants a year are said to be killed by poachers.

Illegal animal poaching news in Kenya white
rhino grazes in Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Rhino horns are in great demand globally, particularly in Southeast Asia, ground up for use as alleged aphrodisiacs and in traditional medicines or turned into decorative dagger handles.

Iain Douglas-Hamilton, the founder of Save the Elephants, said Clinton's speech "signifies the will of the United States to tackle the scourge of wildlife poaching and elevates the issue internationally. Now it remains to share awareness with the Chinese and for the U.S. and China to exert joint leadership to lower the demand for ivory before it is too late."

Yao Ming, the oversized basketball star from China, visited Kenya in August to raise awareness in China about the animal deaths required to supply ivory to China's middle class. He is taking part in a film called "The End of the Wild."
Dangerous animal attacks news elephants gather
at dusk to drink at a watering hole in Tsavo East
National Park, Kenya. 
Clinton said the U.S. will reach out to leaders around the world to forge a consensus on wildlife protection. The U.S. also plans to launch initiatives and expand and strengthen enforcement of wildlife laws. She noted with regret that the U.S. is the second-largest destination market for illegally trafficked wildlife.

Elsewhere on Friday, a South African court sentenced a Thai national to 40 years for selling rhino horns. Chumlong Lemtongthai pleaded guilty to paying prostitutes who posed as hunters to harvest rhino horns, which were then sold on Asia's traditional medicine market, according to the South African Press Association. At least 458 of South Africa's endangered rhinos have been illegally killed this year — a record number.

November 08, 2012. Adam Widener. .WANE.COM. UPDATE: Deadly dog to be euthanized
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) UPDATE: The owner of a Mastiff/Pit Bull mix has released control of the dog to Animal Care and Control.  It will be humanely euthanized after it attacked a leashed dog being walked, injured the owner of that leashed dog, and killed a cat.

A little after 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, the Bull Mastiff/Pit Bull mix was on the loose around the corner of Kenwood and Parnell Avenue in Fort Wayne.  Around that time, a woman let her house cat outside in her yard.  The cat was attacked by the loose dog.  The woman tried beating and kicking the dog, but it wouldn't let go, and killed her cat.

Struggle for Survival

That dog then ran across the street to its next victim, Angela Diamente’s Boxer.  Diamente had been walking her dog and pushing her two-year-old in a stroller.  Diamente said the Mastiff/Pit Bull mix went straight for her dog’s neck.    

Neighbor Austin Crist saw the attack and ran to help.

“I ran over here and there was blood everywhere so I came over here and helped her and I pushed her two-year-old to safety over by Dairy Queen,” Crist said. 

Diamente said she wrestled with the Mastiff/Pit Bull mix for about 10 to 15 minutes.  She said she tried to pry its mouth open to free her dog, puncturing the inside of her hands.  The dog dragged her across some gravel, which cut up the outside of her hands and knees.

“It got to the point where we got into my neighbor's driveway and it was gravel and I could barely move,” Diamente said.  “At that point, I was able to crawl on top of the dog and climb on top of him and I wrapped my whole body around him and got his jaw open.  They dragged my dog inside and I stayed like that until the police came.”

Diamente said her Boxer has a lot of muscle torn out of his chest, puncture wounds, is missing part of his right ear, and a lot of holes in his neck.  He is on a lot of medication but she said miraculously, he will make a full recovery.

History of Aggression

The Mastiff/Pitt Bull mix, Rello, was taken to Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control.

“A dog that is not initially human aggressive, but is animal aggressive, can still be a very dangerous animal,” said Belinda Lewis, director of Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control.  “We don’t take animal attacks on other animals any more lightly than we take a human attack.”

The dog has a previous bite record in Allen County. According to a report, Rello was brought into Animal Care and Control in October of 2012 for attacking and biting chickens in Allen County.

Where's the Owner?

On October 18, the owner at the time of the chicken attacks transferred Rello's ownership to Adan Galvan, a friend.  Galvan is said to have known of Rello’s aggressive history.

Randy Thornton, enforcement division supervisor with Animal Care, said Galvan transferred ownership to a young woman on that same day.  Galvan is said to have withheld information on Rello’s aggressive history.

That young woman told investigators she was in the shower when Rello escaped on Tuesday.  She didn’t know where he went until she saw the story on  Thornton said she came forward and has been extremely cooperative with authorities.  She has been charged with one count of a potentially dangerous dog and faces up to $2,500 in penalties.

Rello has been surrendered to Animal Care and will be humanely euthanized.

Diamente in the meantime is left with both physical scars on her hands and emotional wounds after the haunting situation that she calls terrifying.

“I didn't want my daughter to watch my dog be murdered in front of her," Diamente said.  "So it was just all of those emotions to the point where I just kind of pushed myself as much as I could until I stopped him."

November 07, 2012.The Standard. Crocodile attacks, kills woman

A crocodile killed a woman as she fetched water from Kiambere dam in Mbeere South District.

The woman, 65, and whose identity was not immediately established, was killed by the reptile at 10am on Tuesday.

She died at the same spot where a 16-year-old pregnant girl was killed by a crocodile two months ago while fetching water.

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) warden in charge of Embu and Kirinyaga counties Cornelius Muoka said his officers, the police and area residents were searching for the deceased’s body. Mr Muoka said they would kill the crocodile.

He advised residents to use rainwater to avoid endangering their lives at the dams.

“It is unfortunate that the woman died while heavy rain has been pounding the area.  KWS and KenGen have completed installing water pipes at strategic points. People should make use of rain water as they wait for the piped water,” he said.

November 5, 2012. Ellen Connolly. GlobalPost. Animal trainer, Benjamin Cloutier, mauled to death by grizzly bears in Montana
Dangerous animals dagnerous bear JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Two grizzly bears at an animal "casting agency" killed a trainer as he cleaned their enclosure in Montana.

A 24-year-old man was killed by two grizzly bears while he cleaned their enclosure.

Benjamin Cloutier was a trainer at Animals of Montana, a facility that trains captive animals for films, television commercials and public appearances, Reuters reported.

The attack happened on Sunday as Cloutier conducted a routine clean of their enclosure.

A statement from officials at the facility speculated that Cloutier may have fallen or passed out before he was attacked because there were no defensive wounds and he had not used the bear spray he was carrying, AP reported.

"I believe, given all things accounted for, that (Cloutier) was somehow rendered unconscious, whether it be he slipped and hit his head or something else," said Demetri Price, head trainer at Animals of Montana near Bozeman.

"The bears we believed killed him, but we don't believe it was an attack scenario."

But Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin said there was no way to prove Cloutier was unconscious when the attack began. 

“The body had been attacked so fiercely, there were so many injuries that there was no way — that’s why we’re not going to speculate,” Gootkin said.

Cloutier died of bite and claw wounds that hit major arteries and caused massive blood loss.

Price said Cloutier, who had worked as a trainer at the company since 2008, had been in the bear enclosure hundreds of times.

One of the bears, weighing 500 pounds, had to be killed to enable rescuers to get to Cloutier.

Animals of Montana is a wildlife casting agency, which has snow leopards, African lions, and bears. 

"What separates Animals of Montana from the competition is the fact that all of their animals are worked with day in and day out from just days old," according to the company's website.

"They develop a special bond with their training, which in turn eliminates misbehaving, unruly, scared animals."

November 5, 2012. JOHN MULLER and ALYSSA NEWCOMB (@alyssanewcomb) Boy, 2, Dead After Mauling at Pittsburgh Zoo
African wild hunting dog. The most dangerous
animals in the African Savannah land

The 2-year-old boy mauled by African painted dogs Sunday fell over the railing on which his mother put him to view the wild animals at the Pittsburgh Zoo, police said.

The boy died after falling 14 feet into the exhibit, said Barbara Baker, director of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. Barker said it's unclear whether the boy died from the fall or from the attack.

Zoo officials tried firing darts to scare the dogs away from the child, but the animals, which are pack hunters, did not immediately respond.

The dogs were eventually moved from the exhibit, with the exception of one, which had to be shot after it continued to "be aggressive" to the boy, Baker told a news conference Sunday.

"Unfortunately, by the time EMTs were able to get to him, the boy had passed away," Baker said.

The boy and his mother, 34, Pleasant Hills, Pa., residents who have not been identified, were visiting the zoo just before noon when police say the toddler's mother stood the boy on a wooden railing outside the exhibit. Witnesses say the boy lost his balance and fell into the exhibit.

"There is a railing with a graphic sign. And the child flipped over the top of that railing, and there is also a catch basin to catch things that fall into the exhibit. But apparently the child flipped over that as well," Barker said.

That's when all 11 dogs pounced on the toddler and began to maul him. Witnesses said the scene lasted five minutes, but felt like an eternity.

"We heard screams pretty loudly, and maybe like five minutes had passed by before we heard of what sounded like gunshots," eyewitness Carey Lenz said.

Zookeepers ran into the enclosure, luring seven of the dogs away. Other zoo officials tried to beat the remaining dogs back. The most aggressive dog was shot and killed by a Pittsburgh police officer.

"From what I have heard, this was a pretty horrific scene," police Lt. Kevin Kraus said.

Police said the boy's father arrived on the scene soon after the accident, according The Associated Press.

The zoo has been closed until further notice.

African painted dogs are an endangered species and are about the size of a medium-sized domestic dog, according to the zoo. African wild dogs are also known as cape hunting dogs, spotted dogs and painted wolves. They have large, rounded ears and dark brown circles around their eyes.

"They are one of the most aggressive predatory animals in the wild. A zookeeper, a tranquilizer gun could not have helped," said Jack Hanna, Columbus Zoo director emeritus.

The Pittsburgh Zoo has raised these dogs since birth, but it's not the first time they've caused trouble. The dogs caused a brief lockdown of the zoo in May after they crawled under a fence to another part of the exhibit. But they never left the exhibit and no one was harmed.

Baker said the Pittsburgh Zoo has never had a visitor death. She said no decision has been made yet about the future of the exhibit.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

November 02 2012 JOB WERU and PATRICK MUTHURI. Four ‘poachers’ killed as tusks, weapons recovered
Meru; Kenya. Four suspected poachers have been killed in Mt Kenya region, as the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) steps ups the fight against poaching.

KWS rangers who shot dead the suspects at the Meru National Park and at Solio Conservancy in Nyeri County also recovered a G-3, an AK-47 rifle and 54 rounds of ammunition

Acting Head of Mountain Region Conservation Area  Aggrey Maumo said the two were shot dead at 3am Thursday after they entered the electric-fenced Solio ranch, a sprawling private conservancy,.

Solio ranch is home to hundreds of the endangered black rhino species and the white rhino species.

Maumo said the gang of three shot and badly injured one rhino before KWS rangers and ranch workers spotted them.

“They tracked them and a heavy exchange of fire ensued. Two poachers were shot dead and a G-3 rifle loaded with seven rounds of ammunition, a sword and pliers recovered. The third suspect escaped arrest and we are pursuing him,” said Maumo.

Rhino being treated

The KWS officer said veterinary officers were treating the wounded rhino, which he said is recuperating, as rangers pursue the runaway poacher and their agents.

Maumo said the dead poachers are believed to be from the neighbouring Solio and Narumoru areas.

In Meru National Park, an AK-47 rifle, 47 rounds of ammunition, two ivory tusks and two axes were recovered from two suspects who were shot dead.

Meru National Park Senior Warden William Kiptoo said one was killed on the spot. The other escaped with bullet injuries and died later.  “I appeal to the residents living near the park to give information when they see suspicious people,” he said.

Security operation commander in the Meru Conservation Area Peter Lokitela said they are still tracking the poachers who escaped during the shootout.

Kiptoo said several elephants have been killed by poachers within Meru National Park in the last year, adding that the rangers have intensified the fight against poaching.

“We have been able to recover more than five firearms and more than 400 rounds of ammunition in the last one year,” said Kiptoo.

Meanwhile, officers from the Special Crime Prevention Unit (SCPU) have recovered 28 elephant tasks valued at over Sh25 million and arrested four suspects.

According to the unit’s commander Said Mohammed, the trophies were recovered on Wednesday night following an operation organised by SCPU and the flying squad officer.

Mohammed said 12 tusks were recovered in Makindu area and four in Nairobi. “We have been working closely with the Kenya Wildlife Service in the operation. We further managed to recover 12 more trophies in Eastleigh following a tip off from our informers,” he said.

October 31, 2012,TNN. 'Give forester killed in tiger attack status of martyr'
JAIPUR: Stunned by the sudden death of assistant forester Gheesu Singh in a tiger attack on last Thursday, the Rajasthan Forest Subordinate Services Union has demanded status of martyr for all foresters who die on duty. The union has given a written memorandum to chief minister Ashok Gehlot and forest and tourism minister Bina Kak.

Gheesu Singh was attacked by a tiger while he was on duty at the Ranthambore national park. The tiger, identified as T-24, pounced on him, caught him by the neck and dragged him away to a bush about 25 metres away. Reports suggest that Gheesu Singh was walking between two groups of labourers who had gone to the forest to repair a road. Singh died instantly.

According to sources in the forest department, "The union has demanded the status of martyr on the lines of policemen who are granted the status when they die on duty. Our services are equally fraught with danger. We have to often go into perilous terrains to protect forests and wildlife. In such a situation we must also be given the status of martyr if any of us gets killed on duty."

Gheesu Singh was a resident of Amrapura village on the Samod Ki Balaji road in Chomu. He is survived by three sons, an aging father and a wife. "I have been to his house and the family's condition is pathetic. Gheesu Singh was the only earning member in the family. His youngest son is paralyzed and terminally ill. His eldest son is pursuing graduation while the other is in class X. His father is 80 years old," said Rajpal Singh, member of state wildlife board.

So far Gheesu Singh's family has been given Rs 20 lakh as a special measure by chief minister Ashok Gehlot and another Rs 4 lakh by forest department and the Ranthambore hotels association. Kak has also promised a government job for the next of kin of Gheesu Singh.

In fact, the first voice for status of martyrdom was raised by DV Durrani of the Sariska Tiger Foundation. On the day of the attack Durrani demanded that the state call Gheesu Singh a martyr. "Gheesu Singh was a dedicated and a committed person. Moreover, he was on duty when the tiger attacked him. In such a situation policemen are given the status of a martyr so why should foresters not be treated similarly. More often than not they are exposed to similar or even more dangerous situations," he said.

The demand for martyr's status for Gheesu Singh, the first forester to be killed in such a manner, has been gaining ground since the past week. "Even I will suggest to the state government as a member of the state wildlife board that in cases where an exemplary forester is killed on duty he should be given the status of a martyr and all such facilities that are given to a martyr should be granted to them as well," added Rajpal Singh.

October 31, 2012. Joseph Muchiri. The Standard. Dawn hippo attack in dam leaves girl dead

EMBU, KENYA: A girl was on Monday morning mauled to death by a hippopotamus as she fetched water from Masinga dam in Kaseveni village, Mbeere South District.

?Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officer in charge of Embu and Kirinyaga counties Cornelius Muoka said the same hippo had killed three other people and injured two others in three months.

Maria Wayua was attacked at 6am while heading home from the dam to prepare breakfast before going to school.

Muoka said the hippo ambushed the Standard Four pupil at Kaseveni Primary?School in a secluded area.

KWS officers then camped near the dam to track the hippo but were unsuccessful.

“We have been trying to shoot the killer hippo but every time it dives into the dam. We are still searching for it,” said Muoka.

The body was taken to Embu Provincial General Hospital mortuary.

Many people have died in the area from attacks by crocodiles and hippos from the dam.

KWS has started piping water in a Sh5 million project, while the government of Hungary has initiated a similar project to protect lives.

October 22 2012. The Standard. Michael Chepkwony His passion for wildlife saved a rare antelope from poachers

When the rest of Nandi County residents were celebrating the migration of the rare Sitatunga antelopes to Kingwal swamp in the county, Matthew Kiplel Maiyo thought otherwise.

 For hunters, it meant a delicious game meat on the tables while for the crop farmers it was a curse as the animals had arrived to ruin their crops in the shambas.

Saving the antelopes

 It was in 1999 that the rare wild animals camped at kingwal swamp in Tulon Location, Nandi Central District and several places within the county.

 “I was in Kingwal River and saw two antelopes basking near the swamp. I had heard many talking about the animals and when I saw them, I found it was attractive,” 65-year-old Mr Maiyo notes.

 He says majority of hunters began to hunt the animals. “Dogs would chase them and catch one of the female antelopes. The male ones are dangerous and retaliate when hunted and were hardly killed,” he quips.

 The hunting continued for a length of time till ten of them remained prompting Mr Maiyo to report to Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) in time.

 “I went to KWS offices in Kapsabet and reported to the then warden, Ms Christine Boit. The officers acted immediately by halting any hunting of the animals and deployed four of its officers to the area to conduct a research aimed at establishing facts about the animals,” he says. “The officers were sent to me and we worked together in gathering facts and taking photographs of the animals.”

 They found out that there were about 14 antelopes at the swamp.  The female antelopes had greatly declined.

New venture

 The report handed to Ms Boit, became a blessing to Mr Maiyo who was then working as a security officer at KBC in Nairobi. He was recommended to be hired as one of the officers to guard the animals that were in danger of extinction.

 “I was surprised when I was told that KWS had accepted to hire me as one of their officers. I gladly accepted because that was what I felt I could do best,” he quips.

The report of Sitatunga antelopes was dispatched to KWS headquarters in Nairobi which was then gazetted in East Africa Wildlife Service in 2001.

 “Before gazettment, KWS had conducted sensitisation programme and the residents had stopped hunting the animals,” he explains.

 The same year, Maiyo was confirmed as a KWS officer and was immediately deployed at kingwal swamp where he executes his duties up to date.

“I ensure no hunting of any kind takes place near or at the swamp and also curb any pollution,” he told The County Weekly. However, the protection of the antelopes is yet to benefit the residents through the tourism industry.

Early September this year, KWS, Federation of Community Tourism (FCT), Kenya Forest Research Institute (KEFRI), and World Bank (WB) toured the region to strategise on establishing tourism centre.

Swamp conservation

KWS Nandi County chief warden Joel Kanda, KEFRI officer Charles Koech, WB representative Erik Siele and chair of FCT Paul Chelugei Lelei educated residents on the importance of conserving swamps and protecting acquatic antelope species in the area.

 On his part, Mr Kanda lauded the efforts of Maiyo in ensuring that the animals are protected and said the residents will reap from the conservation soon.

“In three years’ time, tourism will be booming in this county because of the antelopes,” he observed during the visit.

According to KWS statistics, Nandi County is leading with the number of Sitatunga antelopes believed to be about 500 in number.

 Mr Maiyo says: “I believe that if everyone would do what is good in every small way, the world will be a good place to live.”

He explains that initially, residents branded him traitor when he spearheaded the conservation of the animals but perceive him now as a hero after they realised benefits were forthcoming.

“When residents realised they will benefit through tourism, they began to see the wisdom in what I did,” he points out.

 October 11, 2012. Tanner Hawkins.The Daily Free Press. Boston mayor wants pit bull legislation to stay

After a recent pit bull attack left one teenager injured, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino began lobbying to keep an ordinance requiring pit bulls in Boston to be muzzled in before it is replaced by a new state animal law banning breed-specific legislation.

“The mayor believes this is a community rights issue,” said John Guilfoil, a spokesman for Menino. “The state went forward with its action to ban breed-specific legislation without first consulting with or seeking input from the cities and towns that would be affected by this.”
The mayor believes this is an issue that directly affects the citizens of Boston, Guilfoil said.

On Oct. 5, two pit bulls escaped from their owner, attacking and biting a teenager and killing a cat. One dog was shot but not killed and both are in the custody of Boston Animal Control. The fates of the dogs will soon be determined.
In response to the attack, Menino vowed to work to help keep the people of Boston safe from canine attacks, Guilfoil said.
“We’re not trying to say that a specific breed of dog is all bad per say,” Guilfoil said. “I know that all breeds of dogs and all manners of animals can attack, but if you look at the numbers and look at the incidents in the city and a number of cities around the country, this particular breed has been responsible for a lot of them.”

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed an amended Animal Control Act in August, which redefined the term “dangerous dog.” The Animal Control Act states that no dog can be deemed dangerous solely due to its breed, making breed-specific legislation unenforceable.
“When we came with this bill we wanted to make it breed neutral,” said Reginald Zimmerman, a spokesperson for Patrick. “That’s why we support it. It’s not breed specific.”

The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals agrees with breed neutrality in legislation, said MSPCA spokesman Rob Halpin.
“It’s our view that those laws do not make pit bulls safer or other dogs safer or people safer,” Halpin said. “We should be looking at people and the behavior of dog owners and ensuring that we have dogs in the hands of responsible dog owners.”
An argument against pit bulls is that they are responsible for many attacks within the city.
Halpin said these statistics leave out the point that there are many more pit bulls in the densest areas of Massachusetts than there are other breeds of dogs. Consequently, there sometimes appear to be more instances in which pit bulls bite because there are simply more pit bulls, he said.
“We should stop blaming the particular breed of dog for attacks because it’s our position that there is no such thing as an inherently violent dog,” Halpin said.

Halpin said public prejudice toward a specific breed of dog often results from a series of attacks the media focuses on.
In the 1970s and ‘80s, German Shepherds and Doberman Pinschers were viewed as aggressive dogs and were “unfairly cast,” he said.
“What we try to do is try to shine a spotlight on the aspects of pit bulls that are great,” he said. “They’re loyal, they’re great family dogs, they have a lot of energy, they’re great for active people.”

Menino can potentially still institute muzzle laws, Zimmerman said.
He said the city could apply for a Home Rule Petition, which allows a specific area to be held exempt from a particular piece of legislation.
If a Home Rule Petition is granted, Menino can further his work towards requiring the muzzling of pit bulls in public.
“As a city we have to make sure that people are safe, and we believe that the law we have on the books helps keep people safe,” he said. “We will work aggressively to try to maintain some of our rights as a community to deal with this public safety issue.”

October 11, 2012. Suzan Clarke. ABC News. Amazing Image: Eagle Snatches Crocodile From Riverbank
Dangerous animal attacks news Eagle Snatches Crocodile in Tanzania
From Riverbank beautiful amazing picture
 by Mark Sheridan-Johnson

The African fish eagle's diet usually consists of fish and small mammals, but that's not always the case.
An image shot by a safari guide shows the powerful bird snatching up a juvenile Nile crocodile from the banks of a river in Tanzania.
The fully grown Nile crocodile is one of the most dangerous predators in Africa. Its diet is varied, and includes fish, zebras, cattle, sheep, young hippopotami, birds, other crocodiles and humans, but until it grows to adulthood, the young crocodile is also prey.
The takedown happened inside the Selous Game Reserve, and was photographed by Mark Sheridan-Johnson, the Telegraph newspaper reported.

Sheridan-Johnson told the paper that he took the photo on his day off.
"I didn't have any clients to take out that day so I was driving in my Land Cruiser looking for interesting wildlife to photograph," he said, adding that he'd never before seen a bird take a crocodile in his nine-year career as a guide.

Another image taken by Sheridan-Johnson shows that the unlucky crocodile had itself been hunting just before it was snatched. The reptile had a fish in its mouth even as the eagle was swooping down upon it.
It was not clear when the images were taken.

October 08, 2012.David M. Ewalt, Forbes. Animal Rights Group Attacks Pokemon For Promoting Animal Abuse
Animal rights group PETA has condemned the Pokémon media franchise and video game series, saying it “paints a rosy picture of what amounts to thinly veiled animal abuse.”

The Pokémon series tells the stories of young “trainers” who befriend wild critters called Pokémon, help them grow stronger, and coach them through a series of non-fatal sparring matches against other trainers.

In a statement released on October 8, the day after Nintendo released Pokemon Black 2 and White 2, the latest games in the franchise, PETA blathered:

"Much like animals in the real world, Pokémon are treated as unfeeling objects and used for such things as human entertainment and as subjects in experiments. The way that Pokémon are stuffed into pokéballs is similar to how circuses chain elephants inside railroad cars and let them out only to perform confusing and often painful tricks that were taught using sharp steel-tipped bullhooks and electric shock prods …if PETA existed in Unova, our motto would be: Pokémon are not ours to use or abuse. They exist for their own reasons. We believe that this is the message that should be sent to children."

Aside from the fact that this is clearly a lame attempt to attract publicity on the back of a major video game release (which is why I’m not linking to their site, and you shouldn’t look for it, either) PETA seems to have missed the single biggest theme of the Pokémon series: That Pokémon should be treated humanely and live as our equals. The games are loaded with an endless stream of characters who go on and on about true friendship between man and Pokémon. It’s so saccharine and so completely the opposite of what PETA suggests that it boggles the mind.

As part of the campaign, PETA also developed and released a flash-based parody game which it calls “Pokémon Black and Blue.” It is awful.

Last November, PETA attacked video game icon Mario for wearing “fur” –the Tanooki Suit, a frequent power-up in Mario games that grants the ability to fly.

PETA did not disclose in its statement how many actual, living, breathing animals died waiting for rescue while the organization spent its time and money campaigning against fiction.

October 6, 2012. DAVID THOMAS. Daily Chronicle. DeKalb could add teeth to dog bite law
DeKALB – The DeKalb City Council will consider a proposal to upgrade the city’s ordinances on dog attacks in the coming weeks.

The proposal specifically outlaws a dog attacking people, dogs or other animals. Under the proposal, the owner of a dog that attacks or attempts to attack would be fined at least $500. City Manager Mark Biernacki described the ordinance as being a sliding scale.

“Penalties and so forth would increase depending on the severity of the dog-running-at-large issue,” Biernacki said.

The City Council will discuss the proposal at their committee-of-the-whole meeting at 6 p.m. Monday.

Severe attacks or egregious behavior would have the case referred to the DeKalb County State’s Attorney, who can prosecute the dog as a dangerous or vicious animal. These two designations have their own sets rules and prohibitions under the Illinois Animal Control Act.

The owner of an attacking dog would have to pay restitution for out-of-pocket expenses for any injury or damage caused by the dog.

The owner of a dog found off-leash while not on the owner’s property could be fined between $100 and $500. A lighter fine would only be levied if the dog does not harm other people or animals.

Currently, there is no “middle ground” in the city ordinance on dog bites, Police Chief Gene Lowery said in a previous interview. The ordinance also does not address dogs that attack other dogs. In 2011, Lowery said the police department received 75 barking dog complaints, 33 dog bite complaints and 229 dog-running-at-large complaints.

In September, the Daily Chronicle profiled Doris Sernovitz, a woman whose dog was attacked and killed by a neighbor’s dog when it escaped from its backyard. The offending dog was later euthanized at the owner’s discretion.

Sernovitz said she thinks any ordinance concerning dog attacks should address euthanasia for vicious dogs. If the dog is not euthanized, then a sign stating that a vicious dog lives on the property should be posted.

“If a dog mauls someone or kills another animal, I think the dog should be put down,” Sernovitz said.

Illinois law prohibits breed-specific legislation, but home rule cities like DeKalb could pass such an ordinance. However, city documents state that such ordinances have “significant concerns about the practicality and enforceability of breed-specific laws.”

October 5, 2012.Ned P. Iohude. Journal News. Mamaroneck dog that killed neighbor's pet has violent past

MAMARONECK — The dog that attacked and killed a neighbor’s dog last week has a record, it turns out.

Detective Sandra DiRuzza of the Mamaroneck village police said Friday that the dog, owned by Dave Rigano and described variously as a pit bull and an American staffordshire terrier, attacked and wounded another dog in April.

The victim of that bloody attack suffered wounds to its neck but survived. DiRuzza had earlier said she wasn’t aware of any prior violent incidents involving Rigano’s dog. She said residents later called her attention to the spring attack.

Rigano has been charged with one count of dangerous dog attack on a domestic animal following the Sept. 26 incident that killed Ane, a 1-year-old coton du tulear, and cost Ane’s owner, 75-year-old Josephine Catalfamo, part of one of her fingers.

Rigano is due in court Tuesday. Based on the dog’s history of violence and the fact that the most recent attack proved fatal to another animal, the judge could declare it a dangerous dog and, in theory, order it euthanized.

Records show the area’s judges tend to shy away from issuing the harshest of penalties in dangerous dog cases.

Attorney and dog owner Alfred Laub, whose White Plains firm represents dog-bite victims, has told The Journal News, “Even though there is a process for holding owners accountable or taking a dog into custody and following through with euthanasia, there seems to be a reluctance to do that.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dogs bite more than 4.7 million people.

October 05, 2012. DR. Wolfgang H. Thome, ETN UGANDA. Kikwete at a loss to explain Serengeti Highway plans

(eTN) - While in Canada for an official state visit, Tanzania President Kikwete found himself in a tight spot, when challenged by the media over the hugely controversial Serengeti highway plans that his government had floated in 2010. The road would cut the migration route of the wildebeest towards the Kenyan Masai Mara, where his government has steadfastly refused to open the Bologonja border post, ostensibly to “keep the Kenyans out of the Serengeti.” Some weeks ago, conservationists blamed Tanzanian park officials to have deliberately created fires in the Serengeti to prevent the large herds from completing their annual migration to the Kenyan Masai Mara, a claim swiftly denied by SENAPA and TANAPA officials, though the fires were in itself not disputed, only the interpretation. 

With the case in court at the East African Court of Justice, where the Tanzanian government has failed to stop the case on a variety of grounds, the road plans have dented Tanzania’s credibility as a conservation nation, and added equally controversial projects on Lake Natron, the Coelacanth marine national park near Tanga. and uranium mining and a huge dam project in the Selous are only increasing the woes.
President Kikwete’s explanations sounded as weak as mitigating pleas normally do, especially as the alternate Southern route would reach 4 times as many people and would be financed by both the World Bank and the German government, offers, however, not accepted by the Tanzanian government up til now.

Critics claim that Kikwete was under pressure by contributors to his last campaign to deliver on promises allegedly made, connecting the Lake Natron flats and the mining concessions between the Serengeti and Lake Victoria to a major paved road, so that new mines could be opened and a soda ash factory established within the breeding grounds of the East African lesser flamingos.

To make matters worse, one of his self-styled mouth pieces, a Mr. Edward Porokwa, gave away the game when he openly spoke out against Kenyan cattle buyers who are allegedly cheating Tanzanian livestock sellers with artificially low prices for lack of alternate roads. Such talk is likely to negate President Kikwete’s goodwill visit three weeks ago to Kenya’s capital Nairobi, where he was attempting to court public opinion and dispel constant murmurs that Tanzania’s attitude to her neighbors was far from friendly – allegations supported by regular non-tariff barriers being slapped on Kenyan traders and businesses.

Comparisons by Porokwa with other highways crossing national parks were also considered a dismal failure in justifying the highway across the Serengeti, as in Mikumi National Park where the loss of game through road kills continues to be high and the recent experience with a new road in Kenya between Emali and Kimana also showed a sharp increase of game being run over by trucks, now that the road is paved.

The objections of the conservation fraternity remain, and the Tanzanian government has done little to absorb the wave of global opposition and seriously consider the Southern route alternative and President Kikwete’s performance was also all but a failure to convince the world that this particular route was needed for anything else but to please powerful economic interest groups at the expense of tourism and conservation.

October 3, 2012. Severin Carrell, Plans to issue warning over game meat risks delayed
The FSA was expected to warn against eating game such as deer, grouse,
pheasant and boar which had been killed with lead shot.
Photograph: Murdo Macleod for the Guardian
Food Standards Agency had planned to warn people about the health risks of eating game shot with lead ammunition

The Food Standards Agency has suspended plans to warn pregnant women and young children about the health risks of eating game shot with lead ammunition, prompting confusion and dismay among campaigners.

The agency, which issues official guidance to consumers, had been expected to issue a statement on Wednesday warning vulnerable groups against eating game such as deer, grouse, pheasant and boar killed with lead shot.

It was also expected to advise other adults who regularly ate wild game shot with lead pellets to cut their consumption to avoid serious lead poisoning.

The lead ammunition group, the government's advisory panel, decided on Tuesday to release the guidance, but that decision has been overturned. Sources close to the panel said no clear reason had been given.

The panel – which includes the UK's main shooting and conservation bodies such as the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust (WWT), the British Association of Shooting and Conservation, and the Countryside Alliance – had been investigating the issue since its inception in 2009.

Debbie Pain, conservation director of WWT and an authority on lead shot in game birds, who has played a key role in formulating the advice to consumers, said: "They've now said they're delaying publication but I don't know what that means. Is it a week or a month? I have no idea at all."

A study by the European Food Standard Agency published in July and based on studies of 144,000 food samples collected over a nine-year period from across the EU found very high levels of lead in pheasant and boar. Although those meats are not often eaten in the UK, the results were so high they skewed the overall findings for all meat products tested.

The EFSA report said: "Particularly high results were recorded for wild boar meat and pheasant meat, presumably associated with the use of lead ammunition. The many high results for wild boar meat skewed the distribution for this food category so that the mean exceeded the 95th percentile."

Expert studies by the UK government's Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) presented to the lead ammunition group cited grouse, duck, partridge and deer as potential sources of lead poisoning for consumers in the UK. The use of lead shot in duck-shooting was banned in the UK in 1999 but was still widespread, the agency said.

An FSA spokesman said the decision to suspend publication had been taken "this week". He confirmed that the warnings "will be about lead and exposures to lead and advice for people lessening their exposures to lead. It will be directed at the small number of people who eat lead shot game on a regular basis."

He added: "We're not publishing it today. It is still under review and we still haven't quite got it ready yet. We're looking to be publishing something on lead ammunition and small birds and larger animals but we not publishing today."

He said the FSA had not yet decided when the advice would be published, but that it would appear "shortly".

The Fera report, given to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in 2010, said evidence on the scale of the risk to consumers from contaminated game was unclear and inconsistent, but there was a consensus that no levels of lead in food were safe.

It stated: "Humans that eat game animals that have been shot with lead ammunition are at risk of poisoning from the fragments of bullets or pellets that remain embedded in the meat or in other edible tissues; the risk from biologically-incorporated lead in game appears to be low.

"Radiographs of shot deer have shown that when a lead bullet breaks up on impact some fragments are too small to be visible to the unaided eye and would probably be retained in the meat after butchering. People in communities that depend heavily on hunting for subsistence are likely to be most exposed."

September 30, 2012. SALYAN, Two injured in tiger attack

Two persons were injured in an attack by a tiger at Srinagar market of Khalanga VDC of Salyan district Sunday morning.

Dipendra Basnet, 54, and Urmila BK,39, of Shitalpati, Salyan were attacked by the tiger at around 5:15 this morning in front of their home.

Following a commotion over the incident, the locals gathered and killed the tiger.

The injured are undergoing treatment at local Kantipur community hospital, according to the District Police Office, Salyan. RSS

September 22, 2012. Patrik Jonsson, Bronx zoo tiger attack: Man lives, big cat is forgiven
Survivors of tiger attacks often hold no animosity. As he lay injured from a tiger bite, entertainer Roy Horn whispered, 'Make sure no harm comes to Montecore.' Likewise, the tiger that mauled a man who jumped into his enclosure at the Bronx Zoo will not be euthanized.
ATLANTA. Bashuta, the 400-pound tiger who mauled a man who jumped from an elevated train into the Bronx Zoo Wild Asia exhibit Friday, “did nothing wrong” and won’t be euthanized, zoo officials say.
The acknowledgement that the 26-year-old man was the culprit and the big cat was only acting out its nature isn’t uncommon in tiger attacks. In a long line of tiger attack cases, survivors tend to blame themselves or other factors, not the cats. Some victims even mourn when big cats are put down after an attack.

After the entertainer Roy Horn in 2003 nearly died after being bitten in the neck by Montecore, a tiger he had raised since it was six months old, he told assistants, “Montecore is a great cat. Make sure no harm comes to Montecore.” (Mr. Horn performed with Montecore again in 2009 as part of a “20/20” program.)

And a British woman who was mauled by a zoo tiger 30 years ago now raises money to help protect endangered cats around the world.

“I said I didn't want the tigress destroyed because I didn't think it was a vicious attack – she was just being herself and didn't do anything out of character,” Janet Coghlan told the BBC in 2010. "But sadly a few months later, she was destroyed."

In one of the most notable recent tiger attacks, three men were attacked, and one of them killed, in 2007 by a female cat, Tatiana, at the San Francisco Zoo. Tatiana had bitten a zookeeper a year earlier. After the first incident, Tatiana was allowed to live because, as then-director Manuel Mollinedo said, “The tiger was acting as a normal tiger does.”

Police shot and killed Tatiana after the tiger turned on them in the aftermath of the multiple maulings she inflicted on three men, one of whom later acknowledged taunting the animal.

"As a result of this investigation, [police believe] that the tiger may have been taunted/agitated by its eventual victims," wrote Police Inspector Valerie Matthews in an affidavit. Police believe that "this factor contributed to the tiger escaping from its enclosure and attacking its victims.”

Bashuta, an 11-year-old tiger and one of 10 on hand at the Bronx Zoo, watched Friday as a man named David Villalobos jumped into the enclosure from an elevated train that runs around the exhibit perimeters. The tiger attacked Mr. Villalobos, breaking his arm and a leg and biting him on his arms, legs, shoulders and back. Within 10 minutes, zoo keepers had shooed Bashuta off with the help of a fire extinguisher. Villalobos is in stable condition at a local hospital.

Zoo director Jim Breheny said the zoo would review its safety procedures, but was quick to absolve Bashuta from blame.

“We review everything, but we honestly think we provide a safe experience," Mr. Breheny told the Associated Press. "And this is just an extraordinary occurrence … somebody was deliberately trying to endanger themselves."

“The tiger,” he added, “did nothing wrong in this episode.”

August 31, 2012. The Guardian. Dog owner jailed over horrific attacks
Staffordshire bull terriers are sometimes kept as
'status dogs', but the defence counsel said they
 were like family to Brown.
Photograph: Lorne Campbell/Guzelian
Spencer Brown sentenced to 12 months after his Staffordshire bull terrier crosses savaged 10 people in street attack

The owner of two dogs which savaged 10 people in a "horrific and nightmarish" street attack has been jailed for 12 months.

Spencer Brown, 22, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of owning dogs which were dangerously out of control in a public place.

The attacks happened after Brown's Staffordshire bull terrier crosses, Tilly and Freak, escaped from his home in St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, on 22 July.

Passers-by suffered bites to their hands, arms and legs as the dogs marauded around the area without leashes, while those who came to the victims' aid were also bitten. Police eventually managed to subdue one of the animals with a fire extinguisher and a dog catcher pole while a passer-by dragged the other one into a cage.

Weeks before the attacks, on 16 May, a man suffered multiple cuts, wounds and a broken finger after one of the dogs attacked him during a confrontation between him and Brown. Jason Griggs, has been left scarred and unable to work as a self-employed electrician since the attack.

Brown, an unemployed father of one who has eight previous convictions for offences including theft and shoplifting, admitted owning a dog which caused injury in a private place in relation to the attack on Griggs, and possession of cannabis.

Neither dog was banned but police recommended they both be destroyed on the basis of reports from the kennels where they were being held that they remained aggressive.

Jailing Brown at Lewes crown court on Friday, Judge Anthony Scott-Gall said they were "grave and quite horrific" offences which had left victims "savagely mauled".

The sentencing comes days after guidelines were introduced for judges dealing with people convicted of being owners of dangerously out-of-control dogs which harm others in public. The guidelines provide for tougher sentences which could lead to more offenders being jailed or given community orders, and fewer discharged. Owners, or anyone in charge of such a dog, would face up to 18 months' jail, or a legal maximum of two years in exceptional cases.

Ordering the destruction of the dogs, Scott-Gall said: "Without rhyme or reason or cause from any members of the public, the dogs acted in tandem and indulged in a terrifying orgy of violence against wholly innocent members of the public who were lawfully going about their business on a warm July evening.

"It must have been terrifying for them to see these large and feral dogs running amok and attacking anyone they could get close enough to sink their teeth into."

He banned Brown from owning dogs for life, saying he was not a fit and proper person to control such an animal, let alone own one.

Brown was facing a summons to appear in court over the attack on Griggs when the dogs assaulted the 10 people weeks later having escaped from Brown's home via an open window while he was out.

Mark Glendenning, defending, said Brown wanted to apologise for both "unpleasant" attacks.

Before the incidents, there had been no concerns about the care or conduct of Freak or Tilly, he said. While Staffordshire bull terriers were sometimes seen as "status dogs", this was not Brown's reason for owning them.

Brown had a difficult upbringing, having been asked to leave home aged 15 and spending time homeless before being housed by social services in bed and breakfast accommodation.

"The dogs were his family. He never took the dogs off a leash. They were always leashed. He is aware of the difficulties of Staffordshire terriers.

"Subsequently, he tells me that once introduced to other people the animals are well behaved and he has had those animals for three to four years and there has never been any complaint of misconduct."

Wild Animal Attacks News
September 28, 2012. ANDY NEWMAN.The New York Times. Sick Dolphin, Stranded in Queens, Dies on Arrival at Rescue Center

A female common dolphin, six feet long and nearly 140 pounds, bobbed ashore at Far Rockaway, Queens, on Friday morning and flopped onto the beach.

For several hours, as police officers poured water on her and rescuers raced west from a marine-mammal stranding center 65 miles away, the dolphin clung to life. She was loaded onto a truck and taken to the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation on Long Island.

But as the rescuers prepared to transfer her from a stretcher into a tank, the dolphin died, said Robert DiGiovanni Jr., the Riverhead Foundation’s executive director and senior biologist.

The dolphin was first spotted on the sand around 9:30 a.m., at the end of Beach 19th Street, the police said.

Mr. DiGiovanni said the dolphin, a subadult, had probably been sick for some time. She was underweight and had barnacles growing on her tail fin, or fluke, “which indicates an animal that wasn’t moving very fast.”

As dolphins are mammals and breathe air, they can survive for some time out of the water. This dolphin, though, “wasn’t fighting that much, which is always a concern for us,” Mr. DiGiovanni said.

It was unclear what caused the dolphin to move ashore, Mr. DiGiovanni said.

“Strandings occur for a variety of different reasons,” he said. “Sometimes they have a specific cause, a stressor in the environment.”

In this case, Mr. DiGiovanni said, “Maybe she was in an area and just didn’t want to swim anymore.”

The cause of the death, around 3:15 p.m., awaits a necropsy.

The Riverhead Foundation, based in Riverhead, handles about 50 reports of beached marine mammals a year, Mr. DiGiovanni said. Most of the animals are dead by the time they are reached.

“It’s uncommon for us to get a live animal, so whenever we do get that we go to great lengths to try to nurse them back to health,” he said. “Unfortunately, often when we get them back to the facility and they’re too compromised.”

Randy Leonard and Wendy Ruderman contributed reporting.

A version of this article appeared in print on 09/29/2012, on page A21 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Sick Dolphin, Stranded in Queens, Dies on Arrival at Rescue Center.

September 27, 2012. BBC. Western Australia to kill sharks threatening beachgoer

Facts about sharks Australia is the highest ranked
 nation in terms of fatal shark attacks with 217
deaths since 1580. Pic by hermanusbackpackers
Western Australia has set out measures aimed at reducing the risk of shark attacks at the state's beaches, after a string of deadly incidents.

The A$6.85m ($7.12m, £4.41m) package includes funding for catching and if necessary killing sharks "posing an imminent threat" to beachgoers.

Other funding is allocated to tagging and research programmes.

There have been six shark attacks on swimmers and surfers in the state this year, five of them fatal.

The most recent was last month, when a man suffered abdomen and arm injuries in an attack about 1,000km (600 miles) north of state capital Perth.

The series of attacks has prompted calls for a shark cull, but the authorities have ruled out that option following protests from environmental groups.

Several of the recent attacks are believed to have involved great white sharks, which are protected.

In the past, fisheries authorities had only sought to kill great whites in response to an attack.

Now they would be allowed to take "proactive action" if a shark presented an imminent threat to people, a statement said.

Tagging systems that included the use of real-time GPS tracking would also be funded, as would more research, jet skis for lifesaving and a community awareness programme.

"These new measures will not only help us to understand the behaviour of sharks but also offer beachgoers greater protection and confidence as we head into summer," State Premier Colin Barnett said in the statement

October 3,2012.Bryan Nelson. Should Sharks Swimming Near Popular Beaches Be Killed?
The Australian state of Western Australia has approved an unprecedented set of new measures aimed at protecting beachgoers from sharks after six attacks were recorded in the state this year alone, reports the BBC. Sharks deemed to "pose an imminent threat" to beachgoers will now be systematically caught and possibly killed.

The actions have understandably raised significant concerns from environmentalists and animal activists. How will the threat of shark attack be adequately assessed? How will this effect the local ecosystems? Could this endanger the population numbers of certain targeted species? Will catching and killing select sharks even be effective at reducing the risk of attack? There's also the question of whether the peace of mind of beachgoers is worth the lives of sharks that, in many cases, are protected species.

For instance, great white sharks are the most obvious targets of the new laws, but they are considered a protected species. Previously killing them was only allowed in response to an attack. But now fisheries authorities will be allowed to act preemptively-- a sort of 'Bush doctrine,' if you will, only applied to sharks instead of to terrorists.

Government officials are responding to criticisms by arguing that the new laws may actually aid in shark conservation and research.

"These new measures will not only help us to understand the behavior of sharks but also offer beachgoers greater protection and confidence as we head into summer," State Premier Colin Barnett said in the statement.

September 18, 2012.  Apolinari Tairo, ETN Tanzania.  Spectacular wildebeest migration returns to Serengeti plains
TANZANIA (eTN) - Standing on the rooftops of their tourist vans with their cameras up, tourists from all corners of the world are now flocking to Tanzania’s leading Serengeti National Park to witness the return of hundreds of thousands of wildebeest from the other side of the park, the Maasai Mara.

Described as “Nature’s Greatest Show on Earth,” the great wildebeest migration has been the most remarkable tourist eye-catching specter that pulls thousands of tourists from across the world to witness this miracle of creation.

The early rains which started this month over the Serengeti plains, covering an area of 14,763 kilometers, changed the natural beauty of this famous African wildlife park into greenery, encouraging the wildebeest to cut short their holiday in Maasai Mara to feed on the plentiful grass back home.

Reports from Tanzania National Parks said a special event of welcoming home the legendary Wildebeest migration has been observed this week by tourists from all corners of the world who enjoyed viewing this natural trek consisting of about 2 million ungulates, among them 1.5 million wildebeests believed to have spent less than a month in Kenya.

This Greatest Show of Nature on Earth (migration) normally covers more than 1,000 kilometers and takes place once a year on a 12-month circle, in which the wildebeests spend 10 months in Tanzania within Serengeti plains and the Ngorongoro ecosystem before taking a two-month holiday in Kenya’s Maasai Mara Game Reserve.

The wildebeest migration comprises over 2.5 million wild animals with some 1.5 million wildebeests, 800,000 zebras and gazelle in Northern Tanzania and Kenya, and is one of the world's most spectacular wildlife events.

The herbivores are followed closely by their predators - lions, hyenas, leopards, jackals – as they make the migration.

The Serengeti’s unique ecosystem has inspired writers from Ernest Hemingway to Peter Mattheissen, filmmakers like Hugo von Lawick and Alan Root, as well as numerous photographers and scientists.

It is the wildebeest migration for which the Serengeti is perhaps most famous, attracting international travel and tourism organizations to place it among a few tourist sites in Africa listed for voting into the new 7 wonders this year.

The wildebeest travel through a variety of natural areas with a variety of habitat in different forms of vegetation and landscapes within the Serengeti ecosystem.
The Serengeti National Park is undoubtedly the best-known wildlife sanctuary in the world, unequalled for its natural beauty and scientific value. This park has become an important center for scientific research.

In 1959, a German naturalist, professor Bernhard Grzimek, and his son, Michael, did pioneering work in aerial surveys of wildlife. Their surveys resulted in the best-selling classic, “Serengeti Shall Not Die,” and a number of films that made the Serengeti a household name. More is now known about the dynamics of the Serengeti than any other ecosystem in the world.

Today, the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, which is located across the border in Kenya, protect the greatest and most varied collection of terrestrial wildlife on Earth and one of the last great migratory systems still intact. The Serengeti is the jewel in the crown of Tanzania's protected areas.

September 10, 2012 'Pitbull' mauls girl, two, in Paisley's Brodie Park
Police are searching for the owner of a "pitbull-type dog" which mauled a two year old girl and her mother.

The child was playing in Brodie Park, Paisley, when the animal attacked her at about 18:00 on Saturday.

The dog grabbed the child's ankle and dragged her to the ground. It bit her mother's hand when she tried to drag it off. The child is being treated in hospital for ankle and foot injuries.

A man in his 30s grabbed the dog and ran off after the attack.

The dog is described as being a "pitbull-type" and the man who took the dog, is described as white, in his 30s, with a slim build, about 6ft tall with short, dark, curly hair.

'Frightening experience'
Following the attack, the two-year-old girl was taken to Paisley's Royal Alexandra Hospital and later transferred to Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow.

Insp Alison Kennedy, of Strathclyde Police, said: "This was no doubt an extremely frightening experience for a mother and her child and it's imperative we trace the dog and its owner.

"I would like to appeal to people who may have been in the park at the time of the incident to get in touch with us.

"I am also appealing to people who use this park to walk their dogs - it's possible they may know the man and the dog we are referring to. I would urge them to contact us."

September 6, 2012. BBC. Dunfermline  postman hits out after 18th dog bite
A Fife postman has hit out at pet owners after being bitten by a dog for the 18th time in his 20 year career.

Garry Haldane needed treatment after being bitten by a German Shepherd while on his rounds in Dunfermline.

Mr Haldane had been delivering letters to homes near Dunfermline High School when he was attacked on 25 August.

He said it was "not acceptable" for postal workers to be subjected to animal attacks. A 51-year-old man has been cautioned and charged.

Mr Haldane said: "I heard the dog bark and it attacked me from a side alley and bit my leg."

Dog attacks
He was taken the nearby Queen Margaret Hospital for treatment to puncture wounds and bruising.

Mr Haldane, a rep for the Communication Workers Union (CWU), has recently been campaigning for postmen to get better protection from dangerous dogs.

In West Fife, postal workers have compiled a list of addresses of dangerous animals after more than 30 dog attacks on Royal Mail employees were reported in the space of 12 months.

That figure was up by 74% on the previous year.

Mr Haldane added: "It is not acceptable that postal workers, or anyone else for that matter, should be subject to dog or animal attacks because they are not under control when we visit the owner's property."

'Minimise harm'
The CWU estimates that about 5,000 postal workers across the UK are attacked every year.

Royal Mail spokeswoman Julie Pirone said its first priority was to ensure the welfare and safety of its employees.

"We regularly communicate with our people about the dangers of dog attacks and provide advice to our postmen and women on techniques to minimise harm in the event of an attack, and keep a register in each delivery office highlighting any potential risk," she said.

"Over £100,000 has been spent on awareness campaigns and equipment to help reduce the risk of injury.

"However, even just being threatened by an unrestrained pet is a frightening situation for our delivery staff and we would appeal to owners to keep their pets under control, especially if they know their pets have a territorial nature."

September 06, 2012. Suzan Clarke | ABC News. Rare Turtle Flown to Florida for Treatment
Rare Turtle Flown to Florida for Treatment
Pic by  (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau) 

A rare turtle that washed ashore on the U.S. Virgin Islands during Tropical Storm Isaac and was flown to Florida for treatment at Turtle Hospital is making improvement.
The turtle's condition is still guarded, but caregivers at the hospital are optimistic about her chances for survival.

The reptile, a 123-pound female hawksbill named "Good Hope" for the beach where she washed up on St. Croix, was laden with eggs. She was apparently trying to get close to the beach to lay those eggs when she was caught in the storm, according to The Turtle Hospital's blog.
The turtle was found on Aug. 24. She was being cared for in St. Croix, but her caregivers decided she needed more advanced treatment.

American Airlines donated a flight to Miami for the turtle. From there, she was transported by Turtle Hospital ambulance to the hospital on Marathon Key.
Prior to washing up on the beach, the turtle had apparently been hooked by fishermen, then gaffed to remove the lines. As a result of her injuries, Good Hope suffered an infection. Her eyes were swollen shut and there was fluid in her lungs, the hospital's blog reported.
She was treated with IV antibiotics.

endangered Turtles protection and
rescue of endagered species. Pic
 (Andy Newman/Florida Keys) 
According to the Associated Press, veterinarian Dr. Doug Mader said the turtle remained in guarded condition but was improving. He said when he first examined the turtle Sunday, 80 percent of its white blood cells were deemed "toxic." That figure, Mader said, is now at 20 percent.

Mader also noted that swelling around the turtle's eyes had diminished and the animal was much more active and swimming around in a shallow recovery pool, the AP also reported.
Several of her eggs are being incubated.
The goal is to eventually return the turtle - and any hatchlings - to St. Croix.

September 5, 2012. Steve Wainfor | NBC4. Exotic Animal Ban Takes Effect Wednesday

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Nearly a year after a Muskingum County man released dozens of wild animals, prompting a call for tougher laws, the first part of the dangerous wild animal act starts tomorrow.

Michael Stapleton runs Paws and Claws Animal Sanctuary in Prospect. Ohio. He doesn't breed or sell any of his tigers or bears. All of his animals are rescued from owners who could no longer take care of them.

Stapleton said the ban was passed too quickly, and the state isn't giving them enough time to comply.

"There has to be some exceptions made, and the way I feel it is Ohio is not making any exceptions and that their wanting to drive all these animals out,” said Stapleton.

Stapleton said owners can't comply because the temporary standards still have not been written.

Starting Wednesday, owners of dangerous wild animals have until November 5 to microchip their animals and register with the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA).

The three-page registration form was posted to the department's website Tuesday. Stapleton said if he has to microchip all of his animals, it’s just one more thing he has to pay for. He said he is constantly upgrading his fencing, paying for vet bills and feeding costs.

Dr. Tony Forshey is the state veterinarian with ODA. He said they are hoping to have temporary standards finished by the end of the year and that exotic animal owners will have to be compliant by January 1, 2014.  Forshey said the regulations are needed.

"We don't want to over-regulate things but we want to make sure that the public is safe. We want to make sure that the animals are being cared for and fed properly and housed properly," said Forshey.

Starting Wednesday, the sale or auction of any dangerous wild animal will be prohibited.

If an animal roams off your property, it is a first-degree misdemeanor. If it happens again or if animals are released on purpose, it's a felony.

September 05, 2012. Emily Le Coz | Reuters. Hurricane Isaac sweeps tons of dead rats onto Mississippi beaches

TUPELO, Mississippi (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of rats killed by Hurricane Isaac have washed up onto the beaches of Mississippi and created a foul-smelling mess that officials say will take days to clean up.

When the hurricane lifted the tides, the water washed across the marshy areas in Louisiana where the semi-aquatic rats live and forced them to ride the waves into Mississippi until they succumbed to exhaustion and drowned, said David Yarborough, a supervisor for Hancock County on the Gulf Coast.

The tides then deposited their bodies on the Mississippi shoreline, he said.

As of Tuesday, about 16,000 of the rodents have been collected in Hancock County, where a hired contractor's clean-up efforts are expected to continue for another week, officials said.

In nearby Harrison County, officials decided to carry out the work themselves. Using shovels and pitchforks, workers have removed 16 tons of the dead rats from beaches since Saturday and taken them to a local landfill.

"We have an event called 'Cruisin' The Coast' the second week of October with 30,000 to 40,000 people on the beach, and we didn't want to wait" to clean up, said Kim Savant, president of that county's Board of Supervisors.

Although they're smelly and disgusting, the dead rats pose no health risk to humans, said Brigid Elchos of the Mississippi Board of Animal Health.

Mississippi also dealt with dead rats after Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav, but officials said the current situation seems especially bad.

The beaches are closed to the public, but Yarborough said people have come anyway to see the littered beaches. The visitors usually don't stay long, possibly because the odor is intense on the shore and discernible from up to three miles away, he said.

In addition to the rats, workers also found dead hogs, deer, coyotes, snakes and rabbits on the beaches.

 (Editing by David Adams and Philip Barbara)
September 4, 2012. LESLEY CONN AND DASH COLEMAN. Savannah considers bolstering dangerous dog rules
Savannah’s dangerous dog rules could be getting a bit more bite.
 The City Council recently has discussed further strengthening Savannah’s animal control ordinance beyond changes that Chatham County recently adopted.
New in the revised ordinance is a wider net for classifying a dog as potentially dangerous. Under the current ordinance, a dog has to bite or chase a human without provocation to be considered potentially dangerous. Under the proposed changes, that classification would also include any dog that attacks another dog being walked on a leash.
 That’s welcome news to some dog owners, including Kristen Smith. Smith lives in Coffee Bluff, but when she was driving down Edgewater Road near Paradise Park recently, she witnessed what she thinks was a blue pit bull attack another dog on a leash.
 “This dog came charging out of its backyard and started attacking this woman’s dog — a much smaller dog,” Smith said. “I started blowing my horn and finally the dog went back to its yard.”
 The woman with the leashed dog walked away apparently unscathed and on quicker feet, Smith said.
 “(The owner) needs to secure the fence better, especially with Bartlett Middle School being right there,” she said. “With school starting back, kids are walking down that street all the time.”
 Toughening the ordinance to classify dogs who attack leashed dogs as potentially dangerous, she said, is “probably a good idea.”
 Savannah-Chatham police Lt. Brenda Boulware, who commands Animal Control, said she wanted to dispel a common misconception that dogs have to bite someone before action can be taken against them or their owners.
 “There is not free bite in Chatham County (and Savannah),” she said. “If a dog charges somebody or attacks aggressively, we can have a potentially dangerous dog hearing separate from a Recorder’s Court hearing.”
The revised ordinance also requires the owner of a dangerous dog to carry $50,000 in insurance or surety bond, raised from $25,000, and mandates that any dog deemed dangerous by the authorities be muzzled and physically restrained by a responsible person when outside a proper enclosure.
City officials want other steps considered, including whether an owner of a dangerous dog must be required to have a sturdy, fenced enclosure to keep it contained and whether the required insurance should be increased.
Savannah-Chatham’s insurance requirements are already much higher than the state’s $15,000 requirement, but Alderwoman Estella Shabazz pointed to the potential costs incurred by a vicious dog attack, saying that hospital bills alone could top $50,000 when someone is severely bitten.
Alderman John Hall found no fault with the ordinance, but thought council was overlooking a far more obvious problem.
“We don’t have anybody to capture these crazy dogs running in the streets,” he said. “We need more Animal Control officers out there on the streets.”
County-wide, Boulware said, Animal Control has five officers to respond to calls.
As some council members began calling for increased funding to the department, City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney and Mayor Edna Jackson reminded them that Animal Control is funded by the county, not the city. The city and county are negotiating shared costs of the metro police budget and will put a group together to address concerns with animal control funding.
Two residents who have been pushing for a stronger ordinance addressed council.
Cheryl LaBon believes too many residents are afraid to call police for fear their names will be shared with the owners of dangerous dogs. City officials told her residents could call CrimeStoppers or the citizens’ 311 line to remain anonymous.
The Rev. Leonard Small, who has helped Javon Roberson recover after the 7-year-old was mauled by pit bulls in June 2011, urged council to send another resolution to the legislature to toughen state law. In other parts of the state, Small said, the “first bite” rule is in play.
Small wants officials to focus on the burden of recovery and hospital bills a dog bite victim faces. He reminded council of what might have happened had Bernard Moultrie, Herbert Swain and Henry Murphy not been there to help Javon. The men beat off the two dogs with bricks before finally shooting the attacking animals.
“If it wasn’t for some decent men, some courageous men,” Small said, “we would have had a funeral instead of going to the hospital.”
Javon needed more than 200 stitches to close bites to his face and head. The scarring is still quite evident, Small said, and will be for the rest of Javon’s life. As Javon continues to heal, there hasn’t been any thought of even allowing the child near another dog.
It would be too traumatic, Small said, adding for explanation: “You don’t take a guy with PTSD out to Hunter to watch bombs blow up.”

September  02, 2012 Nancy McCleary. Dog involved in fight that injured two Fayetteville men to be euthanized
Authorities have decided to euthanize a dog involved in a fight that injured two men.

Two dogs got into a fight at a McDougal Drive home Aug. 15. The other dog is being returned to its registered owner, said Dr. John Lauby, director of Cumberland County Animal Control.

"I'm doing what I think is best," Lauby said. "There's no absolute right and no absolute wrong."

Jamel Washington, who lives at the residence, was letting the dogs out when they started fighting, Lauby said.

The female dog bit the male dog on the leg. The male turned to go after the female when Washington was caught in the middle, Lauby said. Washington's arms were mauled.

Another person in the home, Joseph Askew, tried to get the male dog off Washington and was attacked by the female, Lauby said.

The dogs were taken by Animal Control the same day.

The female dog belonged to Christopher Vaughn, who also lived in the home. Vaughn signed the dog over to be euthanized, Lauby said.

The male dog will be returned to its owner, a friend of Vaughn's, Lauby said. That person had paperwork indicating that she was the legal owner, Lauby said.

Normally, steps would be taken to have the dog declared vicious, Lauby said, which would have required the dog to stay in a crate while inside the house and not be allowed outside alone.

"All three parties (Vaughn, Washington and Askew) asked that I not deem the dog potentially dangerous," Lauby said.

The woman who owned the male dog said it had never attacked anyone in the seven years that she had owned him, Lauby said.

Another factor was that the male dog was provoked after being bit on the leg, Lauby said.

"It was bitten by the other dog, it turned around and the guy (Washington) was standing there," Lauby said. "He didn't have choice to get out of the way."

The woman signed papers acknowledging her liability if the dog attacks anyone else, Lauby said.

Staff writer Nancy McCleary can be reached at or 486-3568.

Dangerous Animal Attacks News

August 31, 2012. BBC. St Leonards dog attacks owner Spencer Brown jailed. A man whose out-of-control dogs attacked 10 people in the street has been jailed for 12 months.

Spencer Brown, 22, had admitted 10 counts of owning dogs dangerously out of control in a public place.

The attacks happened after Brown's Staffordshire bull terrier crosses, Tilly and Freak, escaped from his East Sussex home, on 22 July.

Brown, of Marline Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, was banned from keeping dogs for life by a judge at Lewes Crown Court.

The court also ordered the dogs to be destroyed.

Aggressive and territorial
Victims of the attack were bitten on their hands, arms and legs as the two dogs walked the area with no leads, while those who came to the victims' aid were also bitten.

The court was told police managed to subdue one of the animals with a fire extinguisher and a dog catcher pole while a passer-by dragged the other into a cage.

Neither dog was a banned breed, but police recommended they both be destroyed after the kennels where they were being held reported that they remained aggressive and territorial.

The court heard that one of the dogs had attacked weeks before, on 16 May.

The victim, Jason Griggs, suffered multiple cuts and a broken finger in the attack, after a confrontation between him and Brown.

He has has been left unable to work as a self-employed electrician.

Brown, who has eight previous convictions for offences including theft and shoplifting, also admitted owning a dog which caused injury in a private place in the attack on Mr Griggs and possession of cannabis.

Covered in blood
One of the victims of the July attack, Nigel Waughman, told police it was "horrific and nightmarish".

Another, Daniel Smith, bent down to pick up his own Jack Russell but fumbled and was attacked by one of the dogs, causing him to fall into the road.

Prosecutor Gail Purdy said both dogs bit him while he was in the road, leaving him covered in blood and needing hospital treatment.

Mark Glendenning, defending, said Staffordshire bull terriers were sometimes seen as status dogs among young people but this was not Brown's reason for owning them.

Brown was asked to leave home aged 15 and was homeless before being housed by social services in bed and breakfast accommodation.

"The dogs were his family," said Mr Glendenning.

Judge Anthony Scott-Gall told Brown the attacks were grave and quite horrific offences which had left victims savagely mauled.

The sentencing comes days after tougher guidelines were brought in for judges under which owners or anyone in charge of a dangerously out-of-control dog faces up to two years in jail.

August 29, 2012. BST. Surfer survives shark attack off remote Australian beach
A surfer has been savaged by a shark off a remote west Australian beach in the sixth serious incident in the state in less than a year, with witnesses on Wednesday telling of water "full of blood".
The man, reported to be in his 30s, was bitten on the abdomen and suffered severe injuries to his right arm while trying to fend off the shark at far-flung Red Bluff – a popular surf spot about 600 miles north of Perth.

A fellow surfer dragged the man onto his board and brought him ashore after Tuesday afternoon's attack, with witnesses recounting gruesome scenes.

"The water was full of blood," said local woman Rebecca Caldwell.

The man was wrapped in towels to stem blood loss and driven almost two hours down unsealed roads to a waiting ambulance, according to Caldwell's husband Jim, the local campground manager.

"We were keeping him talking, that was the main thing, to keep him coherent," Caldwell told The West Australian newspaper, describing the victim as "tough as nails".
"It was all about keeping the pressure on, the blood loss was our biggest concern."

It is the sixth serious attack off Australia's west coast in less than a year, with a fatality north of Perth last month – the fifth in less than 12 months – renewing debate about whether great whites should remain protected.

Most fatal attacks in the region involve great whites, among the largest shark species in the world and made famous by the horror movie "Jaws".

Western Australia Fisheries spokesman Tony Cappelluti told ABC radio it was "very difficult to speculate" what kind of shark it was in the latest attack, with tiger sharks "fairly prevalent" in the area but great whites also present.

Cappelluti said the beach was closed but due to its remoteness authorities were not likely to hunt the shark in question, with "resources a bit thin up there". Source: agencies

August 28.  2012.BBC. Essex lion: Charting the big cats of Britain
The search for a "lion" in Essex was called off after no trace of the animal could be found.

While many newspapers have suggested the animal may be a large domestic cat a couple who photographed it remain convinced it was not a household pet.

The sighting is not the first time members of the public have claimed to have spotted an exotic animal in Britain.

Stories of big cats go back to the 1960s and 70s when it was legal and fashionable to keep exotic animals as pets.

Dangerous Animals Act
The wealthy could take their lion, tiger or cheetah for a walk around the park without needing a licence.

But in 1976 the government introduced the Dangerous Wild Animals Act to protect the public and animals.

While many owners gave their pets to zoos or put them down rumours started that some people released their animals into the wild where their offspring still roam to this day.

In the mid 1990s photos and video emerged of a large panther-like animal in Cornwall.

Dubbed "the beast of Bodmin" it has been spotted on and off for 20 years.

In 1995 a 14-year-old boy found a leopard skull in a river in Bodmin perhaps lending weight to the beast's existence and its demise.

But scientists at the Natural History Museum found an insect egg case inside the skull which they said proved the animal had not died on the moors.

The skull was thought to have come from the tropics or been stored in a warm warehouse where tropical cockroaches can be found.

Toy tiger
The researchers also found cut marks on the back of the skull which showed it had come from a rug or wall trophy suggesting it had probably been dropped into the river by hoaxers.

But sightings and evidence of big cats are not always a hoax.

In Wales there have been a number of reports of big cats sighted in rural areas close to the scene of animal attacks on sheep.

Dogs or foxes may be behind the attacks but some remain convinced the hunter involved is feline in origin.

In February DNA tests on two roe deer discovered dead in Gloucestershire found only saliva relating to foxes.

Last year it was not other animals but a stuffed toy that was behind a big cat sighting.

A life-size toy tiger sparked a major operation involving armed officers and a force helicopter in Southampton.

While no evidence has been found of the Essex lion public fascination with big cats in Britain looks set to continue

August  26, 2012. BBC/Reuters.  Tiger mauls zookeeper to death. 
A Siberian tiger has attacked and killed a female keeper at a zoo in Germany.

It seems an unlocked gate at Cologne Zoo allowed the tiger, Altai, to get out of its pen and into a store, where it attacked the zookeeper.

The zoo's director then shot the animal through a skylight in the store, before it could go further and get into public areas.

"We cannot yet explain how the keeper could make such a fatal mistake (of failing to close the gate)," zoo director Theo Pagel said.

"I shot and killed the animal so that we could enter... and take a look. But the employee was already dead."

Police briefly cleared the area as a precautionary measure though officials said the public was never in any danger.

Both the tiger and the zookeeper were killed.

The zoo, which later reopened for visitors, said in a statement the keeper had been experienced in working with tigers. She died of her wounds in the cage, not after being taken to hospital as earlier reported.

It is not the first time this year that an animal has escaped from a zoo in Germany.

In July, five chimpanzees got over a fence in Hanover.

In that case though, they were recaptured before anyone was hurt

An animal rights group said the death of the keeper should force the government to reconsider how zoos operate.

"Tragedies like this can only be prevented in the future if people stop considering as recreational fun the locking up of wild animals that have a desire for freedom," said Peter Hoeffken, a zoologist from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

Cologne Zoo in western Germany, founded in 1860, is one of the oldest and best-known in the country.

August 1, 2012. Mariana Zepeda. ILC.  Zookeeper Attack Cast into Doubt
SANTIAGO — Information revealed about José Silva Saldías, the zookeeper at the Santiago Metropolitan Zoo who was attacked by a white tiger last Sunday, casts doubts over the circumstances surrounding the recent tragedy.

Last Sunday, Silva entered the cage of “Pampa,” a white tiger and one of the zoo’s most prized felines. Silva, who has over 25 years over experience in his job, was attempting to feed the animal when things went awry and Pampa attacked the zookeeper. Pampa was then put down by zoo authorities in order to prevent the feline from mauling Silva.

The decision to end the animal’s life ignited passionate complaints from the general public and several animal rights groups, who protested at the zoo on Sunday night.

New information unearthed from zoo records reveals a troubling episode in the zookeeper’s past. In 2002, the zoo opened a court investigation concerning the escape and subsequent death of a puma. In 2003, Silva was sanctioned for the incident, along with six other people. The zookeeper was docked ten percent of his paycheck.

“Ten years ago, Silva was sanctioned for a failure to follow protocol as well as excessive confidence in his relationship with the animal,” stated Mauricio Fabry, director of the Metropolitan Zoo yesterday. However, Fabry explained that Silva had not been on the premises during the puma’s escape; he was merely part of a larger investigation.

Fabry assured the public that the zoo would investigate last Sunday’s incident meticulously, as it led to the death of one of Chile’s most beloved animals.

“The zoo has a very clear protocol, a system that activates cage doors from the outside. A zookeeper does not need to come into contact with a dangerous animal,” Silva explained.

According to protocol, all dangerous animals at the zoo remain confined while their cages are cleaned or their food is brought in. Zookeepers rarely come into direct contact with them.

The zoo director reiterated the inevitability of the animal’s death. “When there is an emergency at the zoo, we have the option to anesthetize the animal, and our zoo is fully equipped to do so. We will only shoot an animal in dire circumstances, when a life is at stake,” Fabry said. “Unfortunately, with José Silva, this was the case. We had to act fast.”

Marcela Tirado, head of the Animal Health Unit of the Metropolitan Zoo, explained that when zoo authorities found Silva, the feline was directly on top of him. Anesthetizing Pampa was not an option, as the weight of the tiger’s body would have crushed Silva.

Silva remains stable in the trauma section of the intensive care unit at the Santiago Workers’ Hospital, as he suffered a fracture to the right shoulder. His other injures are being assessed, but he will most likely need surgery in the next couple of days.

July 29, 2012. Mariana Zepeda. Zookeeper Attacked By Tiger At Santiago Metropolitan Zoo
SANTIAGO — The Metropolitan Zoo of Santiago made headlines this morning when a tiger attacked and injured a zookeeper within his cage.

At 9 a.m., the head of the feline section of the zoo, José Silva, entered the white tiger’s cage in order to feed and clean the animal, a part of his daily routine. Silva, who has more than 25 years of zookeeping experience, was then attacked by the tiger and left badly wounded.

When Silva attempted to exit the cage, the tiger was able to escape. Immediately upon witnessing the tiger’s actions, the zoo’s workers followed the establishment’s protocol and put the feline down.

The zoo director stated this morning: “This has been the worst incident to occur in this zoo in the past 11 years. Thankfully, the zoo wasn’t open for the public yet.”

Silva remains at the Worker’s Hospital. However, he is now out of danger and will begin his recovery.

August 7, 2012. Michael Harper for Domestic Cats Are Real Killers And We’ve Got Proof

I can see it in her eyes. Every morning after I wake up and sleepily stumble into my kitchen to pour myself a glass of water or grab some clean clothes from the dryer. After all, who folds clothes anymore?

As I make my way through the house, she lies in wait, crouched in pouncing posture, head poking through the living room blinds just so, keeping an eye out for the squirrels which enjoy a daily breakfast at the dried corn feeder my wife and I placed on our front porch. Sure, there’s a sliding glass door separating her from living in all of her primeval and powerful glory, but it doesn’t do anything to lessen the intense stare in her eyes. On the surface, she’s just a basic, tame house cat, but in her heart, she’s a well-trained killing machine.

And she even plays fetch with my spent beer bottle caps.

Anyone who has ever owned a cat knows just how mysterious and perplexing these creatures can be. Anyone who has ever owned a cat which roams the outdoors knows these creatures can be cold blooded killers, laying their kill on your doorstep as either an offering of gratitude or a warning of your impending fate. One can never tell.

While their predatory nature might be well understood by their owners (or is it masters?), some University of Georgia researchers decided to attach cameras to some 60 or more pet cats as they roamed outdoors to see what happens when these creatures are allowed to tap into their primordial instincts.

“The results were certainly surprising, if not startling,” said Kerrie Anne Loyd, University of Georgia student and lead author of the KittyCam study, speaking to the Detroit Free Press.

“In Athens-Clarke County, (Ga.) we found that about 30% of the sampled cats were successful in capturing and killing prey, and that those cats averaged about one kill for every 17 hours outdoors or 2.1 kills per week. It was also surprising to learn that cats only brought 23% of their kills back to a residence. We found that house cats will kill a wide variety of animals, including: lizards, voles, chipmunks, birds, frogs, and small snakes.”

This means that, of all the deaths our cats are responsible for, we only know about less than a quarter of them. Truly frightening.

These UG students performed their research in association with the National Geographic Society’s “crittercam” program, which aims to display how other creatures see the world.

Cat owners volunteered their cats— some happily so no doubt— to wear these small, waterproof cameras to record their activity for 5 to 6 hours each day. All told, the UG researchers were able to capture up to 37 hours of on-the-prowl footage for each cat.

After watching the clips, the researchers concluded that birds made up 13% of these cats’ prey. This means that cats are likely responsible for the deaths of more than 1 billion birds and other animals each year.

And to think, we let them live in our house and buy specialty foods for them.

“If we extrapolate the results of this study across the country and include feral cats, we find that cats are likely killing more than 4 billion animals per year, including at least 500 million birds,” said Dr. George Fenwick, president for the Bird Conservancy, according to the Detroit Free Press.

In fact, cats kill so many birds per year, they’re causing the decline of some bird species.

Now that we’re on to them, it’s possible the cats could join forces and begin to turn their claws on their owners.

Again, this should come as no surprise to any cat owner, as they’ve long suspected it would only be a matter of time before their pets have their final say.

When asked for a comment, my cat looked at me as if annoyed, turned her back, hiked up one leg, and began to clean herself, assumedly getting ready for my demise.

I can see it in her eyes.

“He knows too much,” she thinks as she stares out the window.

August 19, 2012. Laura Bevan. Huge pet snake problem in Florida
The gigantic 17-foot, 7-inch Burmese python – laden with a record-setting 87 eggs – recently captured in Everglades National Park represents the enormity of the problem of allowing non-native constrictor snakes to be kept as pets in Florida and across the country.

Hundreds of dangerous incidents, such as attacks, escapes or intentional releases of pythons, boa constrictors and anacondas, have been reported in nearly every state. Dangerous snakes have been found in city parks, along rural community roads, and in apartment buildings, gardens and high school football fields. Large constrictor states have killed infants as young as 7 months old as well as experienced reptile handlers.

Constrictor snakes require specialized expertise and care and many suffer from starvation, dehydration, parasites, respiratory infections, mouth rot and other symptoms of neglect. Keeping them as pets is harmful to the snake, dangerous to people and a threat to the ecosystem.
And these problems are not going away until Congress does something to stop them. Scientists with theU.S. Geological Surveyhave concluded that Burmese pythons could survive in one-third of the country.

A nationwide prohibition on the import or interstate transport of giant constrictor snakes is urgently needed to protect public safety and animal welfare. A bill introduced by Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., would do just that. The bill would add nine species of large constrictor snakes to the list of injurious species. Concerned citizens should call their Congressional representatives and ask them to pass H.R. 511.

Laura Bevan is the Southern Region director for The Humane Society of the United States. Visit

Aug 17, 2012. The Times of India. Leopard attacks woman on outskirts of Chandrapur
CHANDRAPUR: A leopard attack on an elderly woman on Wednesday night brought back horrors of man-animal conflict in settlements around the town. The beast entered the Jaganantbaba Math, a religious place, located on Mana-Patanpura road on the outskirts of the town and mauled Tarabai Varhadkar (70) sleeping there on Wednesday night.

A female leopard with two cubs is prowling in the WCL mines and settlements since January. The beasts have been living in the thick bushy area on overburden dump of Mana opencast mine. This is the fourth instance of attack on human in the area. In the earlier three incidents, leopardess had attacked bike-borne travellers on the road, but this was the first time it has entered a residential area to attack a human.

"The woman was sleeping on a cot covered with a mosquito net inside the math. The beast pounced on the cot and clawed her on the face and chest. As others sleeping in the vicinity woke up on hearing her cries, the beast fled from the spot," said an eyewitness. Tarabai was rushed to civil hospital and admitted there for emergency treatment.
In January, a leopardess had attacked Nanebai Virutkar while she was travelling pillion with her husband on a motorcycle. In March, the same leopardess clawed four-year-old Hasari Dhope, while she was travelling with her mother and father on a bike. In April, the leopardess mauled WCL worker Sanjay Upre while he was on his way back home from duty at around midnight. Apart from these attacks, the beast has killed over a dozen cattle in villages Mana, Charwat, Nandgaon and WCL settlement Samruddhi nagar.

"The leopardess has been around since January. She has two cubs, now aged around 10 months, and so far she has never killed a human. She is likely to have migrated from Visapur forest during her pregnancy and settled in the thick shrubby area on overburden dump of Mana mine, also known as Mana Tekdi. Forest department kept two cages in the area in April, but failed to trap her," said wildlife activist Bandu Dhotre. Volunteers of Dhotre's organization Eco-Pro are actively monitoring the movements of the leopardess since many months, along with forest officials.

"Leopards frequently trespass on the outskirts of towns, for lack of water holes in large patch of forest along bypass road. The shrubby areas along the outskirts offer good shelter and food in the form of dogs and pigs. The thick and thorny jungle of shrubs on Mana Takdi offer excellent shelter," he said. Dhotre is preparing a detailed report on the behaviour of this leopardess, which will soon be presented to forest and WCL officers.

Trapping female will endanger 2 cubs

Forest officers are in a fix over caging the leopardess in Mana area. She has two cubs aged around 10 months and they cannot survive in the wild if their mother is captured. The rapid response team of forest department successfully photographed her in camera traps and monitored her movement for many months before the monsoon. However, their efforts to scare her away from the area by bursting firecrackers bore no fruits. Even attempts to cage her had proved fruitless, since she avoided the two cages kept for over a month. "Trying to cage her involves risk to the life of two cubs. Hence, capturing her will also need meticulous planning to rescue her two cubs. Senior officers will decide the fate of the leopardess," said round officer SJ Bobde.

August 16, 2012. APOLINARI TAIRO, ETN Tanzania. Three Tanzania tourist parks set for voting into Seven Natural Wonders of the World
TANZANIA (eTN) - Three leading tourist attraction sites in Tanzania have been listed among twelve leading tourist attractions in Africa nominated for voting into the Seven Natural Wonders of World.

Africa's highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, the world’s famous Ngorongoro Crater, and the Serengeti Migration have been nominated as Tanzania’s three candidates for voting into the Seven Natural Wonders.

Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the largest strato volcanoes in the world reaching 19,340 feet (5,895 meters) into the air. As the tallest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro is also the tallest free-standing mountain in the world.

Mount Kilimanjaro has seven distinctive peaks, with Uhuru Peak accounting for the mountain’s highest elevation at 19,341 feet (5,895 meters). A 1.5 mile wide crater is featured as part of the Kibo portion of the mountain.

Ngorongoro Crater is the world's largest unbroken caldera. Often referred to as "Africa's Garden of Eden," the crater is home to over 30,000 animals including elephants, lions, cheetahs, wildebeests, buffaloes, and the rare black rhinos.

Ngorongoro Crater was created from a volcano that exploded creating the caldera wilderness haven. The crater is 12 miles (19 kilometers) across and consumes 102 square miles (264 square kilometers) of wilderness. The rim of the crater rises just over 2,000 feet (610 meters) above the caldera floor, reaching an elevation of 7,500 feet (2,286 meters).

The Serengeti migration is the longest and largest over-land migration in the world. The Serengeti plains account for over 18,641 square miles, and the migration itself travels 500 miles on the path from Tanzania to the Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya.

The Serengeti is home to over 70 larger mammals and approximately 500 different types of birds. Probably the most impressive part of the migration is the herds of wildebeests that blanket the plains. The migration will kill off around 250,000 wildebeests each year.

Other nominees from Africa are the Red Sea Reef, Sahara Desert, Tsingy de Bemaraha (Madagascar), Avenue of the Baobabs(Madagascar), Aldabra Atoll (Seychelles), Okavango Delta (Botswana), Zuma Park (Nigeria), Mount Kenya (Kenya), and Peak of the Furnace.

The Managing Director of the Tanzania Tourist Board, Dr. Aloyce Nzuki, told eTN that a voting exercise will be conducted through a website designed to pick the votes.

He said voters will be free to vote for four other tourist attractions available in Tanzania but not named in the list above. There is no deadline for the voting exercise, he said.

If voted in, a natural tourist attraction feature will be much more known in the world, hence raising its profile as a leading tourist attraction, with a possibility to pull in more tourists.

Dr. Nzuki said the listed and leading tourists in Tanzania have been attracting many tourists, other than their social and economic impacts to the people.

“We are confident that our nominated attractions will find its way into the Natural Wonders of the World, hence rais[ing] Tanzania’s tourist portfolio in the world,” he told eTN.

The Tanzania Tourist Board, the official tourism marketing and promotion institution, is the official coordinator for the voting exercise.

The voting exercise has been organized by the Seven Natural Wonders, a global grassroots organization committed to protecting the natural wonders of the world with a mission to help people discover and explore the natural wonders of the world, to teach them about the wonders and the things that threaten their existence, and to inspire them to create a philosophy and practice of conservation.

August 9, 2012. Kenya Wildlife Service ( KWS)  Two suspected ivory dealers held over elephant tusks
Two suspected ivory dealers were yesterday (July 8, 2012) intercepted while in possession of two pieces of ivory at Ngarariga area on the outskirts of Nanyuki, Laikipia County.

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers were following up intelligence leads on the suspects. The two suspects, Mr. Josphat Muriuki Kiruthu and Mr. David Njogu Gathoni were booked at Nanyuki Police Station awaiting arraignment in a Nanyuki court this afternoon.

Last week KWS rangers arrested 44 suspected poachers and recovered one M16 rifle with 10 rounds of ammunitions across the country.

We are appealing to the public to inform Kenya Wildlife Service or the police whenever they see people engaging in wildlife crime for the necessary action to be taken.

August 08, 2012. Kenya Wildlife Service ( KWS)  44 suspected poachers in police custody, rifle and ivory recovered
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers have arrested 44 suspected poachers and recovered one M16 rifle with 10 rounds of ammunition during the past one week in various parts of the country.

In Taita Taveta County at Kulalu Ranch, a suspect was arrested, an M16 rifle, 10 rounds of ammunition and two elephant tusks recovered on Monday (July 30, 2012). In the same county at Kilibasi area, two suspects were arrested and two pieces of ivory recovered the same day. One suspect was also arrested in Rukinga Ranch  near Voi and two more pieces of ivory and an assortment of hunting weapons recovered on Thursday (August 2, 2012).

In Embu County at Nchiiru area, two suspects were arrested in possession of two pieces of Ivory on Tuesday (July 31, 2012).

In Narok County, three suspects were arrested and money meant to pay for a piece of ivory recovered on Friday (August 3, 2012). 

KWS rangers are following up on various useful leads to dismantle the poaching gangs across the country.

August. 04, 2012. Bob Hood. Special to the Star-Telegram. Attacks are rare, but humans should respect the mountain lion

Most Texans never have seen a mountain lion, but if you had lived in Fort Worth in the late 1800s seeing one lying in the streets or on display might have been a common occurrence.

Also called a panther, cougar, catamount or puma, the mountain lion has etched its way deep into Fort Worth history, and it all began in 1875 after the Dallas Times Herald published an article by former Fort Worth lawyer Robert Cowart who said, reportedly as an insult, that the city had become such a drowsy place that he had seen a panther asleep in a street near the courthouse.

The panther Cowart saw was captured by local citizens, named Billy and put on display. Billy died in 1877 and was given a celebrated funeral. His legacy, however, has carried on to today. The city was christened Pantherville and later Panther City in the late 1880s, and the word Panther soon showed up on a Fort Worth fire engine, as the name of the Fort Worth Panthers (later Fort Worth Cats) who were the founding members of the old Texas League in 1888, as nicknames, including the Paschal High School Panthers, and on businesses such as the old Panther Hall.

Even today, Fort Worth police officers still have a panther prominently set at the top of their badges.

Although the chances of seeing a mountain lion are slim, their numbers appear to be on a gradual rise. Since they are considered a non-game animal and the numbers of them shot by ranchers protecting their stock, by hunters and others are only occasionally reported, it is difficult for wildlife officials to estimate their populations in Texas.

The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department seeks to confirm mountain lion sightings but that information only provides an overall view of mountain lion ranges, not numbers.

I have seen two mountain lions while hunting, once about 10 miles east of Breckenridge near Caddo and the other west of Van Horn in far West Texas. Although wildlife biologists say mountain lions are mainly active during early mornings and late evenings as well as at night, the one a friend and I watched for several minutes at Caddo was in a pasture road at 9:30 a.m. and the one two friends and I saw near Van Horn was sitting on a ledge 60 yards away at noon.

I have the pelt of another mountain lion that I skinned after visiting with a man who called the Star-Telegram several years ago to tell me he had shot one in his back yard in the Poly area of Fort Worth. The man said his dogs had treed the mountain lion near his chicken coop and asked me if I knew anyone who wanted its hide.

Wildlife officials say mountain lion sightings have been reported in all 254 Texas counties. Mountain lion mortalities were reported in 67 counties between 1983 and 2005. The largest numbers of mountain lions appear to be in far West Texas, the western portion of the Edwards Plateau and in South Texas.

However, the severe drought conditions that continue to plague Texas along with changing land-use practices may be causing them to be expanding their range. In East Texas where wildlife officials once said that region held very few mountain lions, there have been 11 reported mountain lion mortalities in recent years.

Many of the "mortalities" are caused by vehicles, officials note.

Mountain lion attacks on humans are considered rare, but the number of attacks has risen in recent years. California has reported nine since 1992 and Texas has reported four since 1980. Some of the attacks were fatal.

Just last week while camping at Harpers Lake near Missoula, Mont., with a cousin from Texas and her three children, Heather Gerhard of Missoula saw a mountain lion crouched about 20 yards from her 4-year-old daughter, Zoe. She snatched the girl and backed away while raising her arms and yelling at the cat, which did not retreat immediately. A nearby camper called 911, but the animal was gone before a Missoula law enforcement officer arrived.

Ranging in weight of 45-98 pounds for a female and to 100-150 pounds for a male, the mountain lion's primary prey in Texas includes deer, javelina, pronghorn antelope, feral hogs, raccoons, opossum, rabbits and a variety of other small animals. However, they also will prey on sheep and goats.

Although they rarely attack animals as large as horses, that has occurred. In July 2011, a mountain lion killed two horses near Temple.

Just as with black bears, who are showing up once again in East Texas (a road kill was found on Interstate 30 in 1999 near Mount Vernon and other bears have been photographed more recently on hunters' trail cameras), mountain lions can expand their ranges at their own will.

The range of mountain lions has long been disputed. Most wildlife observers agree that several female mountain lions generally occupy the same ranges smaller than those of the males, which may expand to 100 or more square miles as they seek females with which to breed. Female mountain lions usually have two to three kittens.

Factors that most often cause mountain lions to move are the availability of food sources, drought conditions that limit those food sources as well as water, wildfires and changing land-use practices.

While attacks on humans are considered rare, they do happen, and anyone walking and living in mountain lion country should remember that mountain lions are the largest predatory cats in the Western Hemisphere outside the jaguar and do not discriminate on the size of their prey when they are hungry.

August 3, 2012. Jon Collins, Minnesota Public Radi. When otters attack
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Another Minnesota woman was attacked by an otter while swimming last weekend. It was the second attack in a month. An animal expert said the attacks could be due to pressures on otter habitats caused by development.

A St. Michael woman was attacked and bit 18 times last weekend while swimming in a lake near Aitkin. In mid-July, a woman was also bit more than two dozen times while swimming in a lake near Duluth.

George Parsons, director of fishes at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, said otters are part of the weasel family. He said they'll sometimes use their very sharp canine teeth to defend their dens or young.

"The number of bites per victim is a little bit astounding to me," Parsons said on MPR's All Things Considered on Friday. "Usually they'll bite three or four times and then kind of give up."

Parsons said otter habitats are being threatened by development, which just increases the chance that otters and people will come into contact.
Larger view
Leah Prudhomme

But given a choice, otters will generally avoid interacting with humans. Parsons recommends swimmers avoid areas where they build dens, marshlands or places with fallen trees.

"Be as loud and boisterous as possible and usually that will chase otters away," Parsons said. "Especially if you see otters with pups and young, just try to stay clear of that, even on land."

Parsons said otters could also be more active this year due to the heat.

August 2, 2012. Roff Smith in Cincinnati, Ohio. for National Geographic News.
Cheetah Breaks Speed Record—Beats Usain Bolt by Seconds
"Polka-dotted missile" rockets to 61 miles an hour.

Sarah the cheetah has shattered the world record for the standing 100-meter dash, clocking a time of 5.95 seconds—making Olympian Usain Bolt's world record of 9.58 seconds look positively stodgy by comparison.

On a USA Track & Field-certified course established by the Cincinnati Zoo, the 11-year-old cheetah was radar-timed at up to 61 miles (98 kilometers) an hour, according to a Thursday announcement by zoo officials and National Geographic magazine. The magazine photographed Sarah and other zoo cheetahs for a project to be featured in its November issue, which will include unprecedented high-speed pictures.

Sarah's June 20 sprint is the fastest timed 100 meters ever run by anything on the planet, the officials said—though it was no suprise to Cathryn Hilker, founder of the Cincinnati Zoo's Cat Ambassador Program, who helped raise Sarah from a cub.

"Nobody can run like Sarah," Hilker said. "She's special. I always knew she could run under six seconds, but to see it happen like this is wonderful."

"She looked like a polka-dotted missile," added National Geographic photo editor Kim Hubbard. "I've never seen anything alive run that fast."

During the photo shoot, five cheetahs each completed several sprints a day. For the cats it seemed to be a game, bolting out of the back of one of the zoo's vans and chasing fluffy toy dogs as they were pulled across a meadow on a high-speed cord.

The cheetahs are used to long sprints, regularly running for zoo crowds eager to witness one of nature's most adrenaline-charged spectacles.

The demonstrations—among other outreach programs—are not only good for the individual cats, who get much-needed exercise, but good for the species as well: Over the years the zoo's track-star cheetahs have helped raise over a million U.S. dollars for conservation, and National Geographic magazine's coverage of the sprint was supported by National Geographic Society's Big Cats Initiative. (National Geographic News is a division of the Society.)

For the technicians, handlers, and photographers, on the other hand, the days were long and hot and challenging. Cheetahs may be the fastest land animals on Earth, with acceleration rivalling that of a Lamborghini, but they're individuals too. (Watch a cheetah video.)

"They have moods like the rest of us," Hilker said. "And like people, some are better athletes than others and keener for the chase."

Over the course of the event—more than 30 heats in all—the 100-meter times for the zoo's five cheetahs ranged from Sarah's blistering 5.95 seconds to a pedestrian 9.97 seconds by a young male cheetah, who loped along distractedly.

As astonishingly swift as Sarah's world record time of 5.95 seconds might seem in a human context, it's almost certain that cheetahs in the wild—lean, hungry, chasing down antelopes for their own survival or that of their cubs—have run considerably faster.

"This is just for fun, as far as they're concerned," Hilker said. "They know they're going to get fed. They can see the finish line."

July 24, 2012. Adam Ihucha, ETN Tanzania. Tanzania refutes allegation of fire deliberately set in Serengeti
TANZANIA (eTN) - Tanzania has refuted the allegation that it had set fire in northern parts of Serengeti to block the annual wildebeest migration to Kenya's Maasai Mara Game Reserve.

A section of Kenya’s media on Monday reported that Tanzanians living around the Serengeti National Park have set the area on fire to block the wildebeest migration.

According to the story, the decision to block the wildebeest migration has brought many concerns to the Kenyan government.

The story further said fires, which have so far lasted two weeks, have delayed hundreds of wildebeests from Serengeti plains gathered on the Mara River from crossing into Kenya.

In a quick rejoinder, Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA)’s Public Relations Manager, Pascal Shelutete, said the Wildebeest Migration has not been affected as claimed and that the scientific calendar for the migration to cross into the Masai Mara will be in September or October.

In a statement seen by The East African, Mr. Shelutete said what happened in the northern part of Serengeti was “early burning,” which has taken place in an area of not more than 0.5 square kilometers and which actually has no impact at all in wildlife movement patterns.

“Early burning has been practiced for years without affecting the migration which, we are sure our neighbors in the Maasai Mara who are also conservationists are aware of this,” reads part of the official statement.

The General Management Plan of the Serengeti National Park has a fire management scheme, which allows the practice of early burning. This is a type of fire, which is set early while grasses are still green.

The fire is practiced for several reasons, which include reducing the number of destructive insects such as the tsetse fly, and reducing the amount of litter that can catalyze fire during the dry season.

A TANAPA spokesperson further said that early burning facilitates new forage for animals, as some seeds can only germinate after been burnt, and also when old grasses are burnt, new ones germinate.
“In line with this, early burning was practiced in some parts of [the] Northern zone, namely as Wogakuria towards Nyamalumbwa plains,” Mr. Shelutete said, adding, “These areas were selected following [a] high number of tsetse fly and large amount of litter. This excursion is being undertaken every year and has never affected [the] phenomena of migration.”

Annual calendar of migration 
As per the annual migration calendar, Mr. Shelutete said it suffices to state that it is not yet time for the main migration to occur in the Masai Mara, as the right time is September and October.

Currently, the main migration is still on movement from the west towards northern part of the Serengeti.

Usually wildebeest and zebra cover 1,000 kilometers in their course of migration throughout the year, the statement said.

Mr. Shelutete further said that scientifically, these migratory animals spend two months at a time during a year in the Masai Mara and the rest of the ten months, wildebeest spend their time in the Serengeti.

“These animals are too many (1.5 millions) and, therefore, cannot stay in one area; they must move in search of new pasture and exchang[e] males to avoid inbreeding,” reads part of the statement.

July 11, 2012. Tigers kill man who scaled fence at Danish zoo
(Reuters) - A man was killed by tigers at a zoo on Wednesday after he scaled a fence and crossed a moat to get into their enclosure in the Danish capital Copenhagen, police said.

The man, in his early 20s, was savaged by three tigers after he broke into Copenhagen Zoo in the early hours. He was dead when staff arrived for work.

"We received an emergency call at about 7:30 a.m. that a person had been found lying in the tiger pen and that three tigers were surrounding that person," police Superintendent Lars Borg told Reuters.

"The tigers attacked him and killed him. It is likely that a bite to the throat was the primary reason for his death," Borg said.

Police said the man, who had not yet been identified, may have entered the enclosure as a way of committing suicide.

They said he was not Danish but his nationality was not yet known. He had a Denmark resident's permit.

Psychologists have been called to the zoo to talk to staff who found the body, the zoo's chief executive Steffen Straede said.

July 10, 2012. Dave Heller. alligator attack prompts safety recommendations
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating an alligator attack that left a 17-year-old boy without part of his arm.

Authorities say Kaleb Langdale was swimming with friends in the Caloosahatchee River in Moore Haven when he was attacked by the alligator. The animal reportedly swam directly toward Langdale, who tried to shield himself with his right arm. The alligator bit off the boy's arm below the elbow.

Langdale was airlifted to the hospital and is recovering.

Tony Young of the FWC says it's rare for alligators to bite a person, especially during the day. Young says alligators are most active at night so you should never swim between dusk and dawn and don't swim alone.

"When you're in and around water where alligators could be present, just be aware of that. Pay attention to your surroundings. Closely supervise small children when in and around water. Alligators have been known to be attracted to dogs because they closely resemble their natural prey so it's not smart to have small dogs in and around the water, especially if they're barking because that can attract the alligators to you."

Young also suggests swimming or snorkeling in areas where there are a lot of people or boat traffic because alligators tend to move away from locations with lots of human activity.

Young says Langdale's response to the approaching gator was normal and it's hard to say exactly what the "right" response is in such a harrowing situation.

"I guess you just have to live in the moment and do whatever you need to do to try to fight off that bite. Sounds like the boy is keeping a good attitude about it and from what I heard, his friends say he'll be the next to get in the water when he's back from the hospital so he's keeping a positive outlook."

Trappers caught the alligator that attacked Langdale.

Last year, the state of Florida's alligator nuisance hotline took more than 16,000 complaints and removed about 7,000 alligators from populated areas.

Call 1-866-FWC-GATOR to report a nuisance alligator and a trapper will be sent to remove the animal. That's 1-866-392-4286

July 7, 2012. Martine Powers and Matt Woolbright, Globe Staff and Globe Correspondent.  Ballston Beach swimmer likely victim of great white shark attack; first in state since 1936
Ballston Beach was a quiet place today after a man was apparently attacked by a shark just off shore yesterday.
The state’s top shark scientist said this afternoon that the man bitten while swimming off Ballston Beach in Truro was the likely victim of a great white shark attack. It was the first confirmed great white shark attack in Massachusetts since 1936.

“In all likelihood, these injuries can be attributed to a great white shark,’’ Greg Skomal said at an afternoon press conference in Boston. “While the last confirmed injury caused by a white shark in Massachusetts occurred in 1936, the weight of evidence - including eyewitness sighting of a fin, the presence of seals, and the extent of injury -- points to a white shark.’’

Skomal is a senior scientist with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.

The man was attacked around 3:30 p.m. Monday while body surfing with his teenage son. He made it to shore and was rushed first to Cape Cod Hospital and then to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment.

The shark attack victim, Chris Myers, is at MGH receiving medical care, but has instructed the hospital not to release any further information on his condition to the media, an MGH spokesman said this afternoon.

Skomal said he has not interviewed or examined Myers, but added that he is “more than 90 percent’’ certain that Myers had been attacked by a great white shark. The state is tracking nine great white sharks, measuring between 9 and 18 feet, Skomal said.

The last shark attack in Massachusetts took place in 1936 in Buzzards Bay. Sixteen-year-old Joseph Troy Jr. died after sustaining a massive leg wound.

Earlier today in Truro, visitors to Ballston Beach were being cautious.

Sitting safely on the sandy beach, 25-year-old Seth Blaustein recalled how he jumped into the water on Monday after he realized that Myers had been attacked by a shark. He grabbed his boogie board and helped the injured man and his teenaged son as they struggled to swim to shore.

But today Blaustein and his family were staying firmly put on the sand.

“The risk of a shark attack is pretty low right here — he was very far out there in the water,” said Blaustein, sitting on a beach chair a few feet away from where the bloodied Myers had come ashore Monday. “But I’m probably not going to go in [the ocean] because the thought is so fresh in my mind.”

Blaustein was one of a few dozen sunbathers who came to Ballston Beach today where most declined to venture more than knee-deep into the surf, after Myers man was rushed to the hospital with lacerations to both legs.

Though beaches were kept open after Monday’s incident, signs posted on the sand warned potential swimmers of recent shark sightings.

“I swim every day I’m here,” said Christine Blaustein, Seth’s mother. “But I’m not going in the water today.”

Longtime vacationers in this town -- the last before Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod -- said they have seen increasing numbers of seals in the area, but had hoped that sharks would remain further south on the Cape, where they have been frequently spotted off the coasts of Chatham and Orleans.

“We felt that’s where they would stay,” said Carol Pesiri, 68, who splits her time between Truro and Milton. “But apparently not.”

The threat of a shark attack failed to deter Trevor Hennessey, 25, of West Roxbury, from taking a swim on Ballston Beach Tuesday morning, proclaiming later that he was “not nervous at all.”

His girlfriend, however, felt differently.

“I woudn’t go in,” said Hayley Norton, 26.

Hennessey explained that he felt a shark attack wouldn’t occur close to shore -- plus, he said, he would not let fear prevent him from enjoying all the perks of a vacation on Cape Cod.

“There’s a lot of accidents on Route 128, but you still drive,” Hennessey said. “Still, when I was in the water, my head was on a swivel.”
Martine Powers can be reached at

July 2, 2012. Christine Dell'Amore. National Geographic News.  Giant Crocodile Breaks Size Record—Suspected in Fatal Attacks. Lolong beats previous record-holder by more than two feet.

Lolong has hit the big time—at 20.24 feet (6.17 meters) long, the saltwater crocodile is officially the largest in captivity, the Guinness World Records announced recently.

Suspected of attacking several people and killing two, the giant reptile was captured alive in the Philippines' Bunawan township (map) last September. (See pictures of Lolong's capture.)

The Guinness listing is based on data by experts including crocodile zoologist Adam Britton, who measured the beast in his home, the new Bunawan Eco-Park and Research Centre. (Read more about Lolong's Guinness World Record listing.)

Initially wary of claims of record-breaking size, Britton blogged his congratulations to Lolong "for amazing the skeptic in me."

"I didn't expect to ever see a crocodile greater than 20 feet long in my lifetime, not an experience I will forget easily," wrote Britton, senior partner of the Australia-based crocodilian research and consulting group Big Gecko. (See pictures of alligators and crocodiles.)

The previous captive record-holder was a 17.97-foot-long (5.48-meter-long) Australian-caught saltwater crocodile.

What's more, Britton noted, the 2,370-pound (1,075-kilogram) Lolong may have a sizable impact on crocodile conservation in the Philippines.

For instance, the Philippine Senate recently introduced a resolution to strengthen laws protecting the saltwater crocodile and the Philippine crocodile, a species deemed critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

As Britton wrote on his blog, "this is excellent progress."

June 20, 2012. Kenya Wildlife Service ( KWS) Killing of six Lions in Kitengela area of Kajiado county
A total of six lions were last night speared to death by residents of Oloika area in Kitengela, Kajiado County.
The retaliatory killing of two adult lionesses, two sub adults and two cubs on the outskirts of Nairobi occurred after the carnivores had invaded a boma and killed four goats. Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers responded to a community report on the stray lions which had strayed from Nairobi National Park and spent the night with them dealing with the problem.  The teams are still on site.

KWS dispatched rangers and a veterinary capture team to search for the lions. While the search was on,  the lions were killed by the mob. Nairobi National Park is seasonal park and during rainy seasons, herbivores stray out of the park and lions pursue them. In the pursuit lions encounter livestock. While outside the park, the lions occasionally kill livestock from community bomas.

However, KWS works with community human wildlife conflict resolution committees and elders in ensuring that people and their property are protected from destruction by wildlife the same way wildlife is protected. 

The killing is a big loss to the economy given that lions enjoy an iconic status as one of the ‘Big Five’ which are a big draw for tourists who visit Kenya.

Kenya has been losing 100 lions a year for the past seven years, leaving the country with just 2000 of its famous big cats. This implies that the country could have no wild lions at all in 20 years. Conservationists have blamed habitat destruction, disease and conflict with humans for the lion population decline.

KWS would like to strongly discourage the public any killing of lions and other wildlife as this is criminal. Instead, communities should alert KWS officers nearest to them about any problem animals. Besides KWS offices spread across the country, the public can report to 24-hour hotlines 0728331981, 0736506052 and 0770296352.

June 20, 2012. JILLIAN DUNHAM. The New York Times. Worries About a Dolphin in the Hudson
What was an offshore bottlenose dolphin doing in Harlem?

“It might have taken the A train and leapt with ease over the turnstile,” joked Carl Safina, an ecologist and professor at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.

Since Sunday, the Long Island-based Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation has received several reports of what is believed to be a six- or seven-foot-long offshore bottlenose dolphin swimming in the Hudson, from 90th Street to the George Washington Bridge. News reports also put the dolphin around 14th Street Sunday afternoon.

Kimberly Durham, a biologist and the director of Riverhead’s rescue program, said that the foundation has received reports of dolphins in the river before but the facts that it appeared to be a species called the offshore bottlenose, usually found in cold, deep water, and that it was alone, gave cause for concern. The foundation is eager to hear more reports of the animal’s location.

Ms. Durham said the most recent reports the foundation received were unconfirmed sightings of a dolphin swimming near the George Washington Bridge and 225th Street on Tuesday morning.

“We don’t tend to see them close to shore,” she said. “If we do, it can be an indication that something is not right.”

Offshore bottlenose dolphins are normally seen in groups about 75 miles offshore. They are a separate species from other kinds of bottlenose dolphins, whose presence in the lower reaches of a big river like the Hudson would be less alarming.

Ms. Durham and Mr. Safina said there could be many causes for the animal’s presence in the Hudson River, including bacterial infections, injuries from passing boats and brain damage from parasites that can impair a dolphin’s ability to use sonar.

The Riverhead Foundation responds to about 50 strandings of dolphins, porpoises and whales in the New York and Long Island Sound area every year; most of the animals have died.

“One of the things we do find in animals that are undernourished or sick is a higher incidence of marine debris in their G.I. tract,” Ms. Durham said. “If you have an animal too weakened to go after its natural prey, it’s going to go for the easy meal and that is often going to be trash.”

In 2007, the foundation rescued an offshore bottlenose dolphin it named Seabreeze. Seabreeze had gastritis, a serious stomach infection. He was released after four months of rehabilitation and was tracked swimming as far north as Newfoundland.

Mr. Safina that said chemical pollutants in rivers and industrial areas, an increase in mercury from burning coal and a broader range of bacterial and infectious agents pose additional risks to dolphins.

“The amount of fertilizer runoff is causing an increase in algal blooms and some of those are harmful,” he said. When marine mammals eat fish that were feeding on toxin-producing algae, they can be poisoned.

“It’s always been a difficult world, even without people, and people made it much more difficult,” Mr. Safina said.

To report a dolphin sighting, call the Riverhead Foundation hot line: 631-369-9829.

13th and 14th of September. E-tourism Frontiers

5th Annual E-Tourism Africa Summit Announced
Biggest and Best African Event yet
This year marks the 5th anniversary of the E Tourism Africa Summit. The first summit was held in Johannesburg in 2008 and each year we have attracted more delegates and an increasing number of world-class speakers and presenters.

This year’s summit is back at the Cape Town International Convention Centre and it will be held on the 13th and 14th of September. We already have a packed programme of the world’s leading experts on online tourism including Trip Advisor, Wanderfly, Expedia, Humanity TV, Facebook developers and a host of new and innovative speakers. This year will feature both presentations by leading international speakers and a selection of practical workshops and seminars.

New sessions will cover Facebook campaigning for Tourism and Mobile Travel Apps. South African Tourism is the title sponsor of the summit, with Cape Town Tourism as the host sponsor.

The summit will focus strongly on the use of social media to leverage and convert online bookings. With online tourism sales set to double to over US $300 billion by the end of the year and Facebook to have one billion users in 2012, it is critical that tourism players in the sector make better use of the internet and social media to market and manage their destinations and businesses.

Mr. Damian Cook, the CEO of E Tourism Frontiers, said it was vital that all tourism players continue to increase both their understanding and investment into the online sector.

“Online travel bookings continue to soar, the latest statistics show that travellers will book more than half of the world's travel sales online by the end of 2012 and online leisure/unmanaged business travel bookings are expected to grow twice as fast as the total market, to surpass US$ 313 Billion this year. The great news for emerging markets, such as Africa, is that online travel and tourism is poised to experience solid growth over the next five years - with the Middle East and Africa leading the way in percentage terms, according to Euromonitor,” said Cook.

The E Tourism Frontiers CEO went on to say, “With figures like these, it is clear that online is now the arena of choice for travel sales, but we need to look at how we can also use technology to build growth in challenging markets and make our industry more sustainable. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are vital tools when researching travel. However only a small number of African Tourism companies are really accessing and using these tools to their full potential. The summit will include training sessions designed to show them how to do this, ” said Cook.

William Price, Global Manager: E-Marketing at South African Tourism, said that the Summit will be a great opportunity for the tourism sector to catch up with all the latest online technology. “We are delighted to be the title sponsors of the summit, we want to continue to show the tourism sector that shifting their business online is absolutely crucial. We want to make moving online accessible and practical and the summit will be a great opportunity for everyone to learn what works online and the new trends and innovations that will help build our business for the future”, said Price.

Registration for the E Tourism Africa Summit 2012 is open now and there is a special early bird price of only US $250 per ticket for the two day summit if you register and pay before the 31st of July 2012. The price will increase to US $350.00 from the 1st of August.

February 10, 2012. Five killed in Tiger attacks 

BAITADI, Thirteen-year-old Asha Koli died in a tiger attack at Salla in Pancheshwor, Baitadi district, on Wednesday.

Asha, daughter of Maniram Koli, had fallen prey to the beast at a nearby forest while collecting firewood. Kitthi Saud and a child of the same VDC are the latest victims of a beast's attack.

Local people, who are scared to move freely even during the day, shut themselves in their houses as soon as it is evening.

“We are helpless,” said Dinesh Chand, a local resident. People fear to send their children to school.

“A group of four to five tigers come and attack people. How can we send children to school in such a situation?” Prem Sarki of Pancheshwor-6 wondered.

Karan Saud in the locality said a tiger had strayed from a conservation area in India and had entered Nepal after Indian security force and forest officials tried to catch it.

The people have asked the administration to tame the beasts. In the last one and a half months, five people, including two Indian nationals, have been killed in their attack.

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  1. There are so many Safari parks and National Parks in South Africa. Where, we can see different animals but some animals are so dangerous for the human beings so we should make sure our safety.

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